LAHORE - At a time when the PML-N government is committed to providing quick justice to the people, there is only one banking court to deal with all banks-related offences in the province.   

According to official sources, about 700 cases are pending with the said court, located near the GP Chowk.

The primary objective of this court is to have a check on corruption in banks and punish those responsible for committing various kinds of offences therein.

Sources privy to the working of this court told The Nation that 30 to 35 cases are decided per month but the same number of cases is instituted in the said court. As a result, the number of pending cases remains almost unchanged.  

Similarly 30 to 40 bail matters are decided per month and the same number of bails are applied in the court each month, they said.

The sources said the major reason behind the sluggish performance of court for offences in banks in Lahore is the poor infrastructure and lack of staff. Also, they say, the staff of the court are low-paid.

A single judge at the banking court (offences) hears cases of all banks from Multan, Sadiaqabad, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi who can’t handle all cases efficiently.

Although it may appear to be far-fetched, the poor performance of this court is also hampering foreign investment in Pakistan. Foreign companies think that legal procedures in this country are very complicated because of which they avoid making any investment.

“If a witness in a bank offence belongs to Multan or Faisalabad it will not be easy for him or her to come for evidence in a court from such far off place, said an official of Banking Court (offences) who wished not to be named.

Another interesting fact is that the ministry of law and human rights has established a court in Islamabad to hear the offences of banks where people of Rawalpindi Division are not allowed to file petitions or applications.

The litigants of the said region have to face difficulties when they come to Lahore to file a suit in the Lahore court.

Similar problems are faced by those who live in Faisalabad or Khushab and Mianwali.

Moreover, the employees of the Banking Court (offences) are low paid a factor which may be regarded as a depressant as far as the performance of the court is concerned.  Just to let the readers know how low-paid the staff are, the example of a clerk of court will suffice. He is getting Rs 35,000 after 27 years of service.

No judicial allowance or special allowance is paid to the employees of all federal special courts, functioning under federal ministry of law and human rights.  In fact it is still to be decided by superior courts whether the employees of these courts  are judicial or civil servants.

Lawyers say there should be a banking court at every district headquarter. If this not possible, one court should be for a division.