ISLAMABAD - The National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) appreciated the district judiciary of Islamabad, Balochistan and Khyber Pukhtonkhawa, which have decided all oldest cases, while presently there are 9,405 and 1,450 cases pending in the district judiciary of Punjab and Sindh.

The Committee resumed its proceedings at the Supreme Court building Islamabad under the chairmanship of Chief Justice/Chairman NJPMC Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to discuss the left over agenda items. The Committee reviewed the performance of district judiciary with reference to oldest cases, instituted before December 31, 2008.

The Committee asked the concerned High Courts to issue directions to the concerned courts for disposal of all such cases within a period of 30 days by applying different strategies including posting of additional judicial officers to share ever increasing burden. The Committee also asked the High Courts to fill all vacant posts within a period of two months by constituting special committees.

The Chief Justice observed that with each passing day the litigation in courts is increasing which reflects the level of confidence in the courts, therefore, the High Courts should draw a comprehensive work plan to decide cases expeditiously by adopting a proactive approach. He urged the Member Inspection Team (MIT) to monitor the performance of courts on daily basis so that the expectation of people regarding expeditious resolution of their disputes can be met. The Committee observed that institution of false and frivolous litigation is also a factor, which hinders the process of speedy justice, therefore, to discourage such elements heavy cost should be imposed on the parties who abuse the process of law by filing false and frivolous cases.

The Committee also reviewed the implementation status of its recommendations regarding allocation of additional funds to strengthen district judiciary in terms of human resource and infrastructure and showed displeasure on lukewarm response of relevant governments.

The Committee was informed that the Secretary Finance, Government of Pakistan has committed that the provincial governments and High Courts are being taking on board and committed that after holding meeting with the provincial departments necessary funds would draw up a comprehensive plan to meet the requirements of the High Courts with a clear timeframe as desired by the Committee.

The Committee reiterated that it is the obligation of the State to ensure provision of inexpensive and expeditious justice under Article 37(d) of the Constitution; therefore, the government should honor the recommendations of this apex body and immediately increase the number of judicial officers to allay the concerns of an ordinary litigant and to meet the challenges of ever increasing litigation.

The Committee also reviewed the project status of Islamabad Model Jail, the Chief Justice Federal Shariat Court briefed the Committee about the progress. According to him after taking possession of proposed land funds have been requisitioned for construction of boundary wall. Simultaneously, design proposals have been invited and last date for submission of such proposal is 15th October, 2013. The CJP said that the project has already been delayed therefore, all efforts should be made to complete it at the earliest.

The Committee considered the statistic of pending revenue cases provided by the Federal Board of Revenue. The Secretary NJPMC was directed to retrieve data of all such cases from High Courts to ascertain the actual pendency. The Committee also directed that the High Courts should decide all such cases by taking them on fast track. The Chief Justice observed that there are number of cases wherein stay has been granted by the superior courts resultantly the concerned authorities could not proceed to recover the revenues. Therefore, such cases are required to be decided as early as possible.

After meeting of the NJPMC, the Chief Justice of Pakistan also chaired the meeting of the Governing Body, Access to Justice Development Fund (AJDF). Besides, Chief Justices of the High Courts, the meeting was also attended by the Federal Secretaries of Law and Finance Divisions and Director General, Federal Judicial Academy.

The Governing Body also approved proposal for training of judges and lawyers initiated by the Federal Judicial Academy.

The Governing Body also considered the proposal to hold-one day workshop for awareness of Prisoners’ Rights through AJDF. The Governing Body observed that prisons being an important component of criminal justice system play crucial role in the rehabilitation and social integration of offenders.