Islamabad-The number of pending cases at district courts Islamabad is continuously multiplying due to various factors perpetrating immense mental torture as well as huge financial losses to the litigants.

The process of dispensation of justice becomes costly for the court as well as for the litigants with every adjournment and therefore, it is rightly said that ‘adjournments adjourn justice’.

Cases continue to pile up when they are adjourned for years and take years to be heard and finally settled. Provision of inexpensive and speedy justice to the masses is still a distant dream and the perennial twin-problems of backlog and delays in the administration of justice persist as well.

It would not be inappropriate to say that quality of justice, which is an absolute right of every citizen, is still not in any admirable shape even in the federal capital of Pakistan.

According to the statistics available with The Nation, the backlog which stood over 30,000 cases at the end of year 2016, has reached over 40,000 cases in the first quarter of year 2017 in district courts of east and west of the federal capital.

A dissection of the data shows that around 959 cases related to divorces, dissolution of marriage, custody and maintenance were instituted if the first quarter of this year while a total of 554 cases of petty criminal nature were instituted in the courts of Magistrate 1st class and 703 cases were filed in the courts of Magistrate Section 30.

In the courts of district and sessions Judge both east and west, a total of 3,268 cases were instituted while a total of 462 cases were instituted in the courts of rent controller and in the civil courts, 2,511 cases were instituted.

Now, over 40,000 cases are pending before all the district courts of Islamabad.

Talking on the issue, Media Coordinator of District Bar Association, Advocate Chaudhary Khalid said that the major reason behind this increasing number of pending cases is that there are too few judges chasing too many cases. It means that there should be a general increase in the number of judges in all courts and all current judicial vacancies need to be filled.

He added that although, it is not possible to reduce the delay in all pending cases yet in the short and medium term, pendency in cases of public priority should be targeted for reduction e.g. older cases pending since before 2000, terrorism cases, criminal cases involving persons in custody, women and minority rights cases, selective commercial cases, tax cases etc should be heard at priority basis.

Khalid said that in this connection, another important thing is simplification of the law relating to case procedure, especially the law of evidence and reform of the appeals process, is needed. This is where the legislature must act and perform its obligation.

A good thing in this all bleak situation is that it has been learnt that the government is planning to establish evening courts to address the issue of pendency of cases, ensure speedy trials and alleviate the workload of courts.

Recently, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab informed the National Assembly that the law ministry had drafted a bill to establish evening courts. These courts would be set up initially in the federal capital and later provincial governments would be asked to follow suit.

He told that the government would approach the federal cabinet for approval before initiating the process of establishing these courts.

In his written reply, Law Minister Zahid Hamid said that there was no proposal to keep the courts open round the-clock however, a draft bill entitled `Evening Courts Bill-2017` was being considered for the Islamabad Capital Territory to reduce the pendency of cases in courts.

He said that as there is a huge pendency of cases against the present strength of judges, the backlog is increasing steadily day-by-day and the proposed bill seeks to set up evening courts in Islamabad for speedy disposal of cases and clearance of backlog.