ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s sit-in, hearing of 18th and 21st amendments and Inquiry Commission on the alleged rigging in general elections 2013 delayed disposal of cases, said Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali yesterday. The chief justice said this, addressing a ceremony on the beginning of the new judicial year. The attorney general for Pakistan, Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman and the Supreme Court Bar Association president also spoke on the occasion.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek last year staged sit-ins at the Constitution Avenue for four months, blocking the road for all sorts of traffic and also hampering the movement of pedestrians. The litigants, lawyers and even the judges found it difficult to reach the apex court.

Justice Jamali said: “Due to the sit-ins cases were adjourned as litigants and lawyers could not appear before the courts, which increased the number of pending cases.”

He said the hearing of petitions against 18th and 21st amendments by full court for two months also delayed disposal of cases, while one bench continuously heard petitions for several months against the allegations of rigging in the general elections 2013.

The chief justice stated that in order to pursue self-accountability they had decided to activate Supreme Judicial Council under Article 209 of the Constitution. The CJP, however, urged the lawyers’ community to set in motion disciplinary committees of the bar councils for the accountability of advocates and take action against delinquent lawyers in accordance with the law. He noted that despite a large number of complaints against advocates, no action was ever taken against them.

Also read: PTI sit-ins termed a wake-up call

The chief justice also told the gathering about the number of pending cases in the Supreme Court. He said even during the courts’ summer vacation, the SC judges worked at principal and branch registries and disposed of 15,000 cases. He revealed, presently, there were 26,000 pending cases as 17,000 new cases were filed and 600 restored from August 2014 to August 2015, while the last year balance was 24,000.

The chief justice stated that in Human Rights Cell of the Supreme Court, pending cases were 12,305. He said the cell received 26,731 complaints during the last judicial year against highhandedness of police as well as administration, atrocities against women, injustice to minorities and pension of retired government servants.

Justice Jamali further disclosed that 28,034 complaints were disposed of while 11,002 were still pending. He said the cell set up for overseas Pakistanis received 2,055 complaints of which 1,394 had been disposed and only 661 complaints were pending.

He said during the last judicial year three judges –Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Athar Saeed – retired on attaining the age of superannuation while Justice Maqbool Baqir joined the Supreme Court. He added two posts of the SC judges were vacant, which would be filled soon.

He said the Constitution had determined the role of executive, parliament and judiciary, so no organ would be allowed to go beyond its defined limits. “The division of powers among the institutions is made on the basis of democracy. The judiciary has always passed judgments in accordance with law to thwart the illegal actions and create harmony among other institutions,” he asserted.