LAHORE - Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said Sunday that 2.2 million cases could not be taken up for hearing by the lower courts due to over 3,000 strikes in Punjab during the last 10 months of the year 2017.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Future of the District Judiciary’ held at Punjab Judicial Academy here, the chief justice said that had these strikes not been there in the district courts of Punjab, 240,000 cases would have been disposed of.

Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh, other judges, LHC Registrar Syed Khursheed Anwar Rizvi, judicial officers, Punjab Judicial Academy Director General Mahrukh Aziz and others were present there at the seminar.

Justice Shah rejected the impression that judges of the lower judiciary didn’t work. He said 2 million cases were instituted in the lower courts while 2.1 million cases including the already pending were disposed of during the ongoing year.

“There is only one judge for 62,000 cases in Punjab,” the chief justice said while pointing out the shortage of judges in the lower judiciary.

“In order to meet the international standards, at least we need 10,000 more judges,” he further remarked. Justice Shah said that Punjab’s population had gone up to 100.1 million and the burden of cases had also been increased on the courts.

However, he unveiled that strikes were the major cause of slow disposal of cases.

“We have witnessed that strikes are observed over small issues of other countries which have nothing to do with our judiciary,” the chief justice said.

Judges of the Lahore High Court, senior officials and judicial officers of the lower judiciary were present there in the seminar.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah also rejected the impression that he was against the lawyers.

“Should someone be angry when I say that the courts in Punjab should work as the courts all over the world do?” he posed a question to the audience. He further said that for judges appointment in Lahore High Court, the lower judiciary should also be given chance for representation. He said during his time, no illegal appointment or promotion was made in the Lahore High Court. However, he asked the senior judicial officers of the lower judiciary to write ACRs of their subordinate judges purely on merit, saying that it was the matter of judiciary and justice system.

“Don’t write good report of any wrong judge,” he asked the judicial officers by persuading them that “show courage if you want to make the judiciary really superior to all other institutions”.

The chief justice said, “It is not a job to be a judge, in fact it is a reward from the God, so perform honestly. No court or academy can change judges’ thoughts if they themselves don’t change themselves.”

“The judge who does not feel the pain of the litigant can’t be a good judge and he has joined a wrong profession,” he further remarked.

He directed the senior civil judges to visit Tehsils of their respective districts and ensure transparency in the system.

ADR system, model courts and special courts could not show performance if the judges would not change themselves, he said.

The chief justice said they gave powers to the judges of the lower judiciary and abolished unit system of the cases and now they must deliver and show their performance. “Corruption absolutely unacceptable in the courts,” Justice Shah remarked. He pointed out that no one could be more corrupt than the person who was sitting in the courtroom and doing corruption. Courts, he said, never need such person.

He emphasized over training of the judges at the Punjab Judicial Academy and assured the judicial officers that their suggestions must be considered to improve the system and practical steps would be taken up in this regard.

He said that now they had decided to hold annual convention.