“There is no better test of the excellence of a government than the efficiency of its judicial system, for nothing touches the welfare and security of the average citizen,” said Lord Bryce - an eminent British jurist, and politician. Undoubtedly, an effective and efficient administration of justice is one of the basic elements of good governance. As an important principle of state policy, Article 37 of the Constitution of Pakistan provides that ‘the State shall ensure inexpensive and expeditious justice.’Unluckily, the state and quality of the judicial system in the country has not been as good as it should be. Like other important institutions of the state, it has also failed to come up to the mark. The rule of law index Report 2012 by the Washington-based World Justice Project (WJP) indicates the poor and unsatisfactory state of the administration of justice in Pakistan. According to it, Pakistan stands at 91st and 8oth in terms of administration of civil justice and criminal justice, respectively, among the 97 assessed countries in the world. Rapid population growth and rising trend of litigation in the country have required the establishment of more courts and appointment of more judges to cope with the situation. There are also, in fact, some posts of judges lying vacant both at superior and subordinate courts. There are more than some 1.6 million cases pending in the superior and lower courts in the province of Punjab alone. All this backlog of the cases in the courts is the main cause of delay in the disposal of the cases. Another important reason for the delay of disposal of cases is the unnecessary and frequents adjournments made during the trail due to the certain delaying tactics employed by some lawyers and litigants for their vested interests. Besides this, the complaints of inefficiencies, corruption and other malpractices in the lower courts are also common. Transparency International’s corruption perception report 2011 puts the lower judiciary among the top five most corrupt departments in the country. It is very disappointing, rather embracing for us all. In order to improve the judicial system in the country, several National Judicial Policies (NJP’s) have been formulated and introduced by the supreme Courts in the recent past. All These policies have reiterated to ensure speedy and efficient dispensation of justice in the country. They include the fixing of time frames for the disposal of different cases, capacity building and improvement of the working conditions of the judicial officers, provision of guidelines for the efficient disposal of cases, eradication of corruption, improvement of the quality of investigation by the police, the reforms in prisons, installation of video conferencing facility between the courts and jails etc. Unfortunately, all such NJP’s have failed to yield any fruitful results due to the lack of required determination, commitment and sincerity on the part of the concerned stake holders- the Bench and the Bar. MOHSIN RAZA MALIK,Lahore, December 9.