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Monday June 17, 2024

Here's how Supreme Court performed after CJP Isa took over

SC's first quarterly report reveals apex court disposed of more than 5,000 cases in four months

By Maryam Nawaz
January 21, 2024
Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa. — Supreme Court website
Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa. — Supreme Court website  

ISLAMABAD: In line with the people's right to information under Article 19-A of the Constitution, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) Sunday released its first quarterly report from September 17 to December 16, 2023.

The report, which comes a day after the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa presented the judges for accountability, provides an intriguing insight into the apex court's performance revealing that the top court disposed of more than 5,000 cases in four months.

The report, with its aim of fulfilling the court's duty to better serve the people of Pakistan, sheds light on the expedited handling of cases by the SC saying that it disposed of 5,305 cases between September and December 2023 — meaning that more cases were disposed of than those 4,466 filed in the apex court.

It further reveals that the number of pending cases during this time reduced from 56,503 to 55,644 after a reduction of 859 cases during the said time period.

— SC report showing a comparison of the filed cases against those disposed of by the court
— SC report showing a comparison of the filed cases against those disposed of by the court

"The pendency of cases, which had been continuously rising over the past decade, was reduced," the report maintained acknowledging that rising pendency of cases has remained a cause of concern for the general public.

— SC report showing history of pending cases
— SC report showing history of pending cases

Addressing the criticism over a large number of pending cases, the report stressed that the masses have not been granted access to the complete data on the rate at which this pendency has grown, and during which time periods.

It reveals that the number of pending cases has increased gradually over the years whose brief overview is as follows:

  • 2014 — 21,272 pending cases
  • 2015 — 25,681 pending cases
  • 2016 — 29,941 pending cases
  • 2017 — 35,608 pending cases
  • 2018 — 38,197 pending cases
  • 2019 — 43,008 pending cases
  • 2020 — 46,902 pending cases
  • 2021 — 54,212 pending cases
  • 2022 — 52,424 pending cases
  • 2023 — 55,971 pending cases

Landmark cases

Furthermore, the report goes on to highlight notable decisions of the SC in various cases of varying nature with the verdicts on "Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023", general elections, and military courts being one of the most notable ones.

"The entire Supreme Court heard the challenge to the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023 [...] this was the first case heard by the present Chief Justice, and also the first case heard by the entire Court since 2015," the report reads.

On the ruling pertaining to the February 8 polls, the report underscores that the top court "ensured in three hearings over twelve days that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the President of Pakistan [Arif Alvi] determine and must announce the date of the holding of general elections, 3 which they did".

Meanwhile, the military court ruling refers to the unanimous verdict announced by a five-member SC bench that declared civilians' trials in military courts null and void.

Additionally, the court also handed out significant rulings pertaining to public interest cases of which its decision on "Dharna Judgment Review" stands out.

Acknowledging that applications seeking review of the 2019 Dharna judgment were not fixed for hearing due to "internal manipulation", the report said that every institution must admit wrongdoing when it occurs.

It is pertinent to mention that pleas were filed challenging the SC verdict — given by the apex court's two-member bench comprising now-CJP Isa and Justice Mushir Alam — on the Faizabad sit-in staged by the TLP in 2017 against the then-Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.