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Speedy disposal of cases: Civil, criminal laws being amended, says Farogh

September 16, 2018

News desk By

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Muhammad Farogh Naseem says civil and criminal laws are being amended to speed up the disposal of pending cases.

Speaking in Geo News programme ‘Aj Shahzeb Khanzada Ke Saath’ on Friday, the minister said the country’s laws could be divided in two broad categories: civil law and criminal law.

Shedding light on the civil law, he said it could further be divided into three tiers. Part one consists of filing of case, the main case (petition), statement of the claim, defence, its service, recording of evidence, and then verdict, he said. But, said the minister, even execution of verdict takes years. The convict could go into an appeal, and revision of the verdict. This judicial system is archaic, inherited by the country from the British era in the Subcontinent, he added.

The minister said it was necessary to get rid of this archaic system and introduce a new CPC (civil procedure code). But if part one keeps lingering on, then how the second part, which are interlocutory orders, called stay orders, would be implemented, asked the minister. Some say there should not be any stay orders, said Farogh Naseem adding that it was not a correct approach. Stay should be awarded by the court if they deem it necessary.

The law expert believes that two files of every civil case should be created from the beginning. The first part, the main case, should continue at full pace alongside the interlocutory (stay orders). The minister said through amendments such a judicial system could be introduced and the whole trial of a civil suit could be completed within one year. “However, in this method of disposal of cases, there should be two judges hearing the case at the same time. One should continue hearing the main case and the other should look into stay orders. The bar and the bench and all other stakeholders would have to agree on the system, only then this new judicial system could succeed, he added. To a question by Shahzeb Khanzada, the minister said under the new system, more judges would be needed, especially more competent judges would have to be appointed. “If we are to bring about revolutionary changes in the judicial system, only competent judges would have to be appointed. There are complaints that even some high court judges, who have already been regularised, have competence problems. Farogh Naseem said Article 209 of the Constitution dealt with misconduct of judges. This article, he said, must be amended to include incompetence of judges as their misconduct. He said the reformed judicial system was not only achievable, but also implementable. Farogh Naseem said a panel of reputed lawyers would be constituted to collect evidence that could save time of the court. "We need active contribution of lawyers from across the country. The whole procedure from filing of a civil case to giving defence should be done within 75 days. The issue could be framed within 30 days and 15 to 20 days would be given for witnesses and evidence.” To save the time of court, he said the commission will record mandatory evidence within 90 days and soon after the judgment, implementation should take place without wasting time. Giving reference of the Supreme Court, the minister said if any judgment was reserved, it should be announced within three months and after the judgment it was not necessary to pass a decree.

Farogh Naseem said two appeals were available against the decision of a civil judge, one was in the high court and the other in the Supreme Court. "If we streamline all these things, one trial will be completed within 12 to 13 months," he said.

The amendments to the civil and criminal laws by the PTI government seem to be in step with the Law Commission’s recommendations about carrying out improvement in the justice system. Hearing a constitutional petition on Friday, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said the most important thing was to ensure quick dispensation of justice to all by improving the current justice system.

He said amendments to laws must facilitate the judiciary and advised against making hasty amendments which only create problems.

He said in other countries special committees were constituted for making amendments to laws.

Justice Nisar said he wanted to ensure such a justice system in the country that dispensed speedy justice to all without discrimination.

He said delivering justice to someone after twenty-six years was no justice at all.

He cautioned against hasty legislation and constitutional amendments which created scores of problems in the past.

He said hasty decisions brought disasters to a country. He suggested that deliberations should precede a legislation as it was a sensitive job.