ISLAMABAD - A meeting of the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee, (NJPMC), was held under the Chairmanship of Hon’ble Mr Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Chief Justice of Pakistan/Chairman, NJPMC, in Lahore Branch Registry of the Supreme Court.

The meeting was attended by the Hon’ble members of the NJPMC including Hon’ble Chief Justice Federal Shariat Court Mr Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai, Mr Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh, Chief Justice High Court of Sindh, Mr Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth Chief Justice Peshawar High Court, Mr Justice Athar Minallah Chief Justice Islamabad High Court, Mr Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail Chief Justice High Court of Balochistan, and Mr Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh Chief Justice Lahore High Court.

Dr Muhammad Raheem Awan, Secretary, National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) convened the meeting.

The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan/Chairman, NJPMC welcomed the participants and remarked that the NJPMC in order to provide speedy and expeditious justice to the deserving litigants has done substantial work under its mandate, however there is still room for further progress. He further remarked that the vacancies in all cadres of judiciary and Administrative Tribunals and Special Courts be immediately filled for clearance of backlog.

The Committee was briefed about the status of vacancies in the Superior Courts and District Judiciary and the various courts informed about the efforts made for filling up of the same. The Committee resolved that all the vacant posts in the judiciary be filled up within six months.

Moreover, it was also resolved that in case the posts are not filled after an advertisement then the posts may be re-advertised for timely filling-up of vacant posts. Furthermore, the High Courts may maintain a calendar whereby the process of appointment could be initiated in advance against a post which is likely to fall vacant.

The Secretary, NJPMC also briefed the Committee about the vacancies in the Administrative Tribunals and Special Courts working under federal and provincial jurisdictions and status of institution, disposal and pendency of cases in the said Tribunals and Courts. The Committee deliberated upon the issues and remarked that there is a huge number of pendency of revenue, banking and commercial cases which may very likely affect public revenues and the economy. 

 

The Committee expressed concerns over non-filling of vacant posts and deliberated that the High Courts should take up the issue with the respective Federal and Provincial Governments for resolution as the non-filling up of vacant posts increases the backlog and which compromises trust of the public in the judiciary. The Committee further resolved that use of modern technology is the solution and directed the Secretary, NJPMC for arrangements for putting in place Case Follow Management Systems in all the Administrative Tribunals and Special Courts. The Secretary, NJPMC briefed the Committee about the status of civil, criminal appeals and writ petitions pending in the High Courts and District judiciary. 

 

The Committee deliberated upon the issue and resolved that adjudication of old appeals and writ petitions may be prioritized. The Committee was also briefed about the status of Gender Based Violence Courts (GBV Courts) and Juvenile Justice and Child Courts. The Secretary, NJPMC informed that the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan Secretariat in collaboration with Asian Development Bank (ADB) conducted two phases of training of judicial officers and prosecutors at the Punjab Judicial Academy, Lahore in July and December, 2019 and GBV related cases have been assigned to judicial officers throughout the country which are being adjudicated upon. Moreover, training of judicial officers, prosecutors and government officials has been conducted at various judicial academies in respect of juvenile justice and child related cases. 

 

The Committee resolved that recent judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding Gender Based Violence/Juvenile Justice cases should be disseminated to the judicial officers entrusted with GBV and juvenile justice and child related cases. The Committee also directed the Secretary, NJPMC to collect district-wise data from police and district judiciary regarding juveniles who are kept in the police lockup, handcuffed and produced in the court along with adult offenders/accused, in violation of Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018, for examining and placing before the Committee for further consideration. The Committee was briefed about the performance of cells established in the High Courts for Eradication of Corruption. 

 

The Committee deliberated upon the issue and resolved that zero tolerance should be adopted against corruption. The Hon’ble Mr Justice Mushir Alam, Senior Puisne, Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan remarked that the installation of office management systems would be useful in transparency of the system. While briefing upon the progress of the Justice Committees in the provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory, it was resolved that the meetings of the Justice Committees would be held regularly so that issues pertaining to the judiciary including infrastructure requirements could be effectively dealt with. 

 

The Committee also approved the recommendation of the National Judicial Automation Committee (NJAC) regarding establishment of core team of National Judicial Automation Unit (NJAU) at the old building of Federal Judicial Academy and which building will be handed over to the LJCP Secretariat for establishment of NJAU and nomination of IT experts for the core NJAU team. The Committee was also informed that the NJAU would also develop central and provincial dash-boards for monitoring of cases.

 

Further, on special invitation, the meeting was also attended by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mushir Alam, Senior Puisne Judge, Supreme Court of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan, Senior Puisne Judge, Lahore High Court, Mr. Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Senior Puisne Judge, High Court of Balochistan, Mr. Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan, Senior Puisne Judge, Peshawar High Court, Mr. Justice Aamer Farooq, Senior Puisne Judge, Islamabad High Court, and Mr. Justice Syed Muhammad Farooq Shah, Judge, Federal Shariat Court.