Rawalpindi - Chief Justice Lahore High Court (LHC), Syed Mansoor Ali Shah inaugurated four model courts as a pilot project to dispose of criminal cases speedily at District Courts on Thursday.

Judges, senior and junior lawyers including District Bar Association President Sajjad Abbasi were also present on the occasion.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, LHC CJ Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said that soon an alternate dispute resolution (ADR) centre would be established in Rawalpindi.

He said that it was duty of the bar and bench to provide speedy justice to public at large. He said that the high court did not want to create small oases by establishing the model courts. He said that the high court wanted to improve criminal justice system across Punjab and wanted to make judiciary in Punjab a model for others to follow. Counting the positive aspects of the model courts, CJ said that in routine an additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) would decide six cases every month, but a model court had decided 22 criminal cases in one month.

He said that about 30,000 criminal cases were pending in sessions’ courts and these cases would be disposed off speedily in coordination with lawyers, prosecution, police and jail authorities.

Highlighting his steps to improve the cases disposal, Syed Mansoor Ali Shah said that the high court would also establish model courts for civil cases. He said that in all districts, he had appointed three senior civil judges. One of them will only take care of administrative issues including service of summons on litigants. He said that the automation system would soon be set up to make the service of notices and summons more effective. He said that about 600,000 civil cases had been pending in Punjab.

LHC CJ said that the district judiciary faced shortage of as many as 700 judges. He said that a committee of the high court had upgraded the syllabus for examination for new judges. He said examination for new judges would be carried out in October.

Earlier, briefing the judicial officers and bar representatives, District and Sessions Judge Rawalpindi, Sohail Nasir said that six model courts had been established in the district, four in Rawalpindi and one each at Gujjar Khan and Taxila. He said that the model courts would try only criminal cases related to murder and narcotics. He said that the idea of model courts was shared by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa of the Supreme Court. He said that the high court in first established in four districts of Narowal, Attock, Chiniot, and Vehari in February 2017.

The model courts decided 629 criminal cases including 140 murder cases, 328 narcotics cases, and 161 other cases in first 28 days. Twenty two model courts in the four district also recorded statements of as many as 2, 281 witnesses.

The performance of the model courts encouraged the high court to establish six more such courts in one of the major districts of Punjab, he added. Tight security measures were taken upon the arrival of LHC CJ Syed Mansoor Ali Shah following orders of City Police Officer (CPO) Israr Ahmed Khan Abbasi.