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Wednesday May 22, 2024

Judicial system facing acute shortage of judges

By Numan Wahab
December 31, 2022

LAHORE: The judicial system of Pakistan is facing an acute shortage of judges and a mammoth pendency of cases as it is working with a 75 per cent strength, which makes 1,005 posts of judges vacant in superior and lower courts all over the country while a total of 4,144 posts are approved.

The data available with The News reveals that the pending cases in all courts including the Supreme Court of Pakistan, high courts and lower courts are 2.16 million while 2,757,000 cases were decided from January to November 2022. The judicial system is facing a shortage of 1,005 judges as per the record.

The shortage of judges increased in 2022 as in January, the system was lacking 993 judges against 4,144 approved posts. By the end of November, the shortage of judges increased by 11 per cent.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has a sanctioned strength of 17 judges but is functioning with 15 judges and two posts are vacant. In the Lahore High Court, 18 posts of judges are vacant while the approved number of judges is 60. There are 10 vacant vacancies in the Sindh High Court while the sanctioned strength is 40. In the Peshawar High Court, three posts of judges were vacant till February while the sanctioned strength is 20. The approved strength of judges in the Balochistan High Court is 15, but it is working with 14 judges. In the Islamabad High Court, two seats are vacant and the sanctioned strength is 10.

In the district judiciary of Punjab, the number of vacant posts is alarming as 822 posts are vacant against 2,364 sanctioned posts. The Punjab district judiciary is working with an approximately 50 per cent strength. The Sindh district judiciary is working with a shortage of 79 judges and the number of approved posts is 657. At the beginning of the year, the sanctioned number of judges in Sindh was 651, which was increased to 657. However, 79 posts are still vacant. The district judiciary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a shortage of 107 judges and the sanctioned posts are 634.

At the beginning of the year, the sanctioned number of judges in the KP district judiciary was increased from 596 to 634. The sanctioned strength is 292 judges in the Balochistan district judiciary, but it is working with a shortage 65 judges. At the beginning of the year, the number of judges in the Balochistan district judiciary was increased from 285 to 292. Moreover, the Islamabad district judiciary is facing a shortage of 30 judges against 103 sanctioned posts.