Pakistan’s new National Judicial Policy comes into force

June 1st, 2009 - 3:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, June 1 (IANS) Pakistan’s new National Judicial Policy came into force Monday aiming at clearing a huge backlog of 1.5 million cases in trial courts and close to 140,000 cases at the high court and Supreme Court levels in one year.
The new policy, approved by the National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC), headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, aims at “a year for focus on justice at the grassroots level”.

It has “set tall objectives which, if attained, would bring the country’s judiciary at par with the best in the world”, The News said Monday.

Lawyers, while welcoming the policy, hoped it would restore the confidence of the people on judicial system.

“A cross section of lawyers, while commenting on the new policy, said that the crime rate would lower with making it obligatory to decide family matters cases within three months and murder cases in six months,” The News said.

The policy also bars Supreme Court and high court judges from officiating as provincial governors and tightens the procedures to curb corruption.

The NJPMC, at a meeting chaired by Chaudhry April 19 approved the policy “for strict observance of the code of conduct, eradication of corruption amongst judicial officers/court staff and quick disposal of case”.

Supreme Court Registrar Faqir Hussain, who is the secretary of the policy-making committee, has said the people would experience a positive change with the implementation of the new policy.

Highlighting the salient features of the policy relating to the independence of the judiciary and its separation from the executive, he said at a briefing last month that in future no chief justice or judge of the superior courts would accept an appointment as acting governor of a province.

Similarly, no retired judge of the superior courts would accept an appointment that was lower to his status or dignity, including appointment as presiding officer of a banking court, a customs court or an administrative tribunal.

Hussain said judges of the superior courts would follow the code of conduct laid down for them.

Chief justices of the high courts would report violation of the code, including incidents of unusual delays and inefficient performance, to the Supreme Judicial Council for action.

To eradicate corruption, Hussain said, high courts will improve existing mechanisms and procedures for initiating disciplinary proceedings against corrupt and inefficient judicial officers.

Each high court, he said, a cell would be established under the registrar for eradicating corruption from the judiciary.

Similarly, Hussain said, district and sessions judges would also report about corruption and misconduct of their subordinate judges.

Referring to the judicial backlog, he said 19,055 cases were pending in the Supreme Court, 2,092 in the Federal Shariat Court, 84,704 in the Lahore High Court, 18,571 in the Sindh High Court, 10,363 in the Peshawar High Court and 4,160 in the Balochistan High Court.

This apart, 1,565,926 cases were pending before the subordinate judiciary in the four provinces.

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