ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, being National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) chairman, summoned a meeting of the committee on April 29 to consider amending its earlier decision regarding entertainability of petitions under Sections 22A of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

The meeting will also be attended by the Chief Justice of Federal Shariat Court and the chief justices of all the high courts.

According to the press statement issued from the office of Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP), the NJPMC will consider suggestions given by the representatives of the bar and the legal fraternity, on the decisions taken by the NJPMC in its last month’s meeting regarding exercise of jurisdiction under section 22A (6), CrPC and establishment and functioning of the model courts.

Section 22A of CrPC is regarding complaint redressal mechanism. On March 11, the NJPMC under the chairmanship of Chief Justice Khosa had decided that the applications under Section 22A and Section 22B of CrPC may be entertained by the Superintendent of Police (Complaints).

But the legal fraternity of the country led by Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), lawyers’ apex body, had expressed reservations and resolved that the decision would turn the country in a police state. To convey the concerns, a delegation of representatives of the bar councils and bar associations from all over the country had met Chief Justice Khosa.

During the meeting, PBC Vice Chairman Syed Amjad Shah demanded that procedure of entertainability of application under Section 22A and 22B of CrPC before SP Complaints and Ex-officio Justice of Peace should be followed concurrently. He also demanded that the entertainability of applications before SP Complaints should be only optional instead of mandatory.

He opined that introduction of redressal mechanism will not end backlog because the complainant will again approach the court after a week in case his grievance is not redressed by SP Complaints.

While talking to The Nation, PBC Vice Chairman Shah said that aggrieved persons, the citizens of this country, should not be discouraged in the name of ending backlog.

The delegation had expressed concern that the complaint redressal mechanism appears to have been made cumbersome for the general public who would now first have to approach the SHO concerned, then the Superintendent of Police (Complaints) and lastly the Ex-officio Justices of Peace/Sessions Judges.

Though, the LJCP had already clarified the NJPMC have not altered or amended sections 22A and 22B of the CrPC and still hold the field and the Justices of Peace still enjoy statutory powers and can issue directions for redressal of complaints regarding non-registration of FIR and grievances against police.

The NJPMC policy directive, the complaint redressal mechanism has been simplified by providing a single forum for redressal of grievances and also in-turn creating an internal accountability mechanism in the police department.

But, Chief Justice Khosa had assured the representatives that the Committee shall consider amending its decision regarding petitions under Sections 22A of CrPC.