ISLAMABAD- Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has said that independent judicial system ensures accountability and better public governance because good governance is impossible without accountability.

He was chairing the national judicial police making committee meeting inIslamabadwhich was attended by the chief justices of high courts,Federal Shariat Courtand NJPMC secretary.

The chief justice in his introductory speech said: “Good governance is impossible without accountability as it determines the level of governance in a country and independent judicial system ensures accountability and better governance.”

Expressing satisfaction over elections, he said that despite all odds, transfer of power through democratic process was completed peacefully. The committee reviewed the applications received against the judicial officers by the Election Commission of Pakistan. The NJPMC expressed satisfaction on the performance of district returning officers and returning officers, observing that most of applications received against them were baseless.

According to the ECP statistics, over 800 judicial officers performed duties as DRO and RO during the general elections across the country and 376 applications were received against DROs and ROs.

The committee appreciated that in Balochistan and ICT not a single worth considering application was received against DROs and ROs.

The chief justice said: “In line with the constitutional mandate and to meet the heighten expectations of public, the National Judicial Policy has been formulated and launched which provides strategies to ensure independence of

judiciary, eradication of corruption and clearance of backlog. Under the Policy, certain targets were fixed and guidelines were given to the Courts to realize the goal of ensuring expeditious and inexpensive justice. The results of the policy are magnificent and I am proud to say that the district judiciary has decided 99% of old cases which were registered before 2008.”

He said through effective implementation of the policy, the performance of other stakeholders of the criminal justice system was also improved. He said the meeting would also review the performance of district judiciary and other stakeholders in the backdrop of the National Judicial Policy. The NJPMC noted that the shortage of judges was the major reason of delay in cases being heard in courts. It also reviewed the status of challan submission and shown satisfaction that challans were being submitted timely.

The judges expressed displeasure on lukewarm response of governments on its recommendations for increasing the number of judicial officers to cope with the increasing workload on the judiciary. The committee reiterated that the government should honour the recommendations of this apex body and allocate necessary funds in the forthcoming budget to lessen the sufferings of ordinary litigants.

The meeting approved the draft of MoU which would be signed by the judiciaries ofPakistanand Azad Jammu andKashmir. It also reviewed the status of Islamabad Model Jail project and considered the proposal of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the training of judicial officers to counter terrorism.

A committee was constituted to discuss modalities with the UNODC.