People not getting speedy, inexpensive justice: CJ
Says judges, lawyers, govt responsible for destruction of justice system
By our correspondents
September 10, 2015
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said on Wednesday all the institutions of the state should admit that they had not yet succeeded in providing speedy and inexpensive justice to the masses as guaranteed by the Constitution. Addressing the Full Court Reference held here in the Supreme Court on the eve of his retirement, Justice Jawwad said that apart from judges and lawyers, the government and the executive were also responsible for the destruction of the justice system. He said that in civil cases, decisions are delayed because the government and non-governmental organisations are unable to protect the rights of citizens while in criminal cases where the innocent are awarded sentences while accused are getting favours, mostly the police and the prosecution department are responsible for this injustice. The chief justice said that Article 37(d) of the Constitution stipulates that state institutions are required to ensure provision of speedy justice to the masses. However, he questioned whether the masses and litigants aspiring for speedy justice were being facilitated or whether any system of justice was available in our country that can guarantee the provision of speedy justice to every individual. “I however, admit that unfortunately the answer is in the negative,” the chief justice said, adding that it is not his personal view but statistics have proved this. In this respect, he said that with the cooperation of his staff, he was able to compile data last year which shows that a case registered in a court of law and upon reaching the Supreme Court for final adjudication takes an average of 25 years. At the same time, Justice Jawwad said that litigants pursuing their cases in the courts have to bear high expenditures, therefore, if the litigants develop an impression that the authorities, including courts, police, lawyers and other government and non-governmental organisations, are not implementing the constitutional provision of 37(d), they are quite right. Referring to the legal fraternity, the second organ of the justice system, the chief justice said the role of the lawyers community was quite important in the dispensation of justice to the litigants. He said that judges mostly rely on the counsels of parties in the cases and lawyers no doubt can render their professional obligation in their assistance for the provision of speedy justice. However, there is a section of lawyers who are not utilising their professional skills for an improvement in the legal system and for provision of speedy justice to the masses and the example of the negative role of the lawyers could be judged from the day-to-day protests being launched by the legal fraternity. Citing an investigative report compiled last year, Justice Jawwad said that according to the said report, there had been more than 50 protests of the lawyers community in the district courts of the federal capital from January 1, 2014 to December, 2014 that greatly affected the cases pending in these courts and were adjourned as counsels of the parties in the cases remained absent. “At the same time, lawyers used to get adjournments in cases and as a result provision of justice was often delayed,” Justice Jawwad said. He further said that apart from judges and lawyers, the government and the executive were also responsible for the destruction of the justice system. In fact, he said that the whole society was involved in cutting the roots of the justice system. The chief justice said that in Islam, testimony in legal system plays a significant role. “However, today we can hardly find anyone in our society who, irrespective of loss and any fear, could appear before the court and give testimony based on facts,” he said. Justice Jawwad said that every moment in the past 16 years remained a test for him as the post was not his personal property but a sacred trust of the nation and as an Ameen, he was answerable to the public. Earlier, Attorney General for Pakistan Salman Aslam Butt also paid rich tributes to the outgoing Chief Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and cited various remarkable judgments delivered by him. Although, both the leaders and office bearers of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) boycotted the Full Court Reference, yet Iqbal Shah, vice president of the SCBA from Quetta, attended the reference and paid rich tributes to the outgoing chief justice.