ISLAMABAD - Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani told the house about compilation of a 350-page report on dispensation of speedy and inexpensive justice in the country. One of the recommendations wants Station House Officer (SHOs) to be law graduates.

Presiding Senate Committee of the Whole, Mr Rabbani remarked that in line with the opinions of parliamentarians, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Secretary Law and Justice, lawyers and other stakeholders, the Senate Secretariat has compiled the report to implement justice in the country.

He highlighted salient features of the report in detail and stressed upon the members to submit recommendations within a week so that the report could be finalized.

The report is divided into various heads and recommendations mainly pertaining to civil justice system, criminal justice system, alternate dispute resolution, increase in number of judges in supreme court of pakistan, recommendations in the wake of sunset clause in the Army (Amendment) Act, 2015 and the Constitution (21st Amendment) Act 2015.

The Chairman Senate said that six bills have been drafted, which are annexed with the report, namely, Draft Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill 2015, Draft Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2015, Draft Witness Protection Bill 2015, Draft Arbitration and Conciliation Bill 2015, Draft Supreme Court (Number of Judges) (Amendment) Bill 2015 and Draft Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

Appreciating the report, senators said there was a need for speedy and inexpensive justice system as the current system was unable to meet the ever increasing demand of the people. This initiative is distinguished from previous all initiatives because here suggestions were forwarded for its proper implementation.

They suggested forwarding the Draft Report to Prime Minister, President, Chief Justice of Pakistan and other courts so that all stakeholders should be taken on board.

According to the report, the investigation branch should be strengthened and the number of forensic science laboratories should be increased. The courts should not hesitate to make use of Section 167 of PPC which provides for the punishment of a public servant who deliberately frames or prepares an incorrect document or punishment.

The report further recommended that the completion of investigation and submission of challans beyond the statutory period is a matter of grave concern which should be treated as inefficiency on the part of Station House Officer.

It is also required to appoint a Station House Officer who should be a Law Graduate fully trained and well conversant with latest methods of investigation. Timely submission of the challans within 14 days shall be made an integral part of the performance appraisal mechanism for investigation officers and appropriate disciplinary action be taken against such officers who are found to be involved in causing delay.

The relevant police rules shall be amended accordingly. The draft report also suggested that the government must take immediate steps to provide foolproof security to judges, prosecutors and witnesses, especially in cases of heinous crimes including terrorism cases.

It said the Arbitration Act, 1940 has become obsolete in the wake of national and international developments. Pakistan is also a signatory to such international conventions which obligates adoption of model law for arbitration.

Furthermore, all the stakeholders, during the course of meetings, stressed the need of a robust mechanism of alternate dispute resolution. The parliament shall take lead in assuming its responsibility. Accordingly, a draft law has been prepared to rectify the legislative lacunas.

The draft report also suggested enhancing the number of judges to 27 from current 16 other than the Chief Justice. Shortage of judges is one of the major causes which hinder the dispensation of speedy justice.

Senators on the occasion expressed their views and lauded efforts of Mian Raza Rabbani and the Senate Secretariat for preparing a comprehensive draft report.