PESHAWAR - The first-ever mobile court in Pakistan started functioning in Peshawar by hearing six cases after it was formally inaugurated by Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan on Saturday.

The idea to have mobile courts in the province was of the chief justice who, soon after his appointment in November 2011, had announced that there were several things on his priority list and setting up of mobile courts was one of them. The chief justice inaugurated the very first mobile court service on the premises of the PHC at a special ceremony.

The mobile court aims at providing speedy justice to the people at their doorsteps, who usually have to face hurdles and get justice after many years from regular courts. This court will keep moving in different parts of the province to provide justice by hearing cases of petty nature and give instant decisions for resolution of disputes.

Established in a beautifully-adorned special bus painted with green and white colours, the mobile court, on the very first day, heard at least six cases – one of civil nature and five criminal. Judicial Magistrate Fazal Wadood heard these cases.

The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has financially supported the project of mobile courts. Having all facilities needed in a courtroom, including even solar panels and a power generator, the first mobile court bus has cost Rs 15 million.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, PHC CJ Justice Dost Muhammad Khan said with the introduction of this service, the citizens living in far-flung areas would not have to travel all the way to the city courts as these mobile courts would settle disputes on the spot by reaching their remote villages.

The PHC CJ said nine judges and 18 lawyers had been given special training to run these mobile courts, adding any citizen needing help could also call a mobile court in his area by phone.

UNDP Country Director Marc Andre and chief technical specialist of the ‘Rule of Law Project’, Sharmeela Rasool, also attended the ceremony.

Justice Dost Muhammad Khan said the mobile courts would make frequent visits to rural areas as more than 50 percent cases come from there. He was of the view that establishment of the mobile courts would certainly help reduce traffic burden, use of resources, pollution in the city and load on courts in Peshawar. He said more mobile courts would be established soon, adding they were planning to set up more 11 mobile courts in the province.

“Justice on wheels will travel to each village and both complainants and defendants will be summoned to appear. It will also help reduce the number of pending cases in courts. Judges will hear both the parties and resolve disputes on the spot with lesser time and no cost,” he said.

Legal experts believe that these courts would be helpful, especially, in those areas of KPK where regular courts were situated in district and tehsil headquarters far away from villages.