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December 5, 2018

KP consults stakeholders to provide inexpensive, expeditious justice


December 5, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday arranged a consultation with legal experts and senior lawyers to amend the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil Procedure Code (Amendment) Act, 2018 with the help of stakeholders to provide inexpensive and expeditious justice to citizens.

The provincial government had enacted major amendments to the British-era Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, to dispose of cases within a specific period, but the cases of civil nature are still not being decided within one year.

The participants at the consultative workshop said proper amendments should be made to the Civil Procedure Code (Amendment) Act as no civil case has been decided within one year under the existing law to date.

The consultative workshop titled “Civil Law Reforms and Human Rights Law” was organised by the KP Law Department in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The representatives of bar associations from across the province, senior lawyers and law officers of the KP Advocate General Office attended the event.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Law Minister Sultan Muhammad said one of the basic duties of the state is to provide inexpensive and expeditious justice to citizens.

He said the workshop aimed at developing consensus on necessary amendments to the Civil Law and Human Rights Act. It will strengthen the human rights regime in the province, added the minister. “Let us start a historic role from here to make changes for providing inexpensive and expeditious justice to the common man in the existing laws. I want all the stakeholders including judges and lawyers [taken] on board to develop a consensus on the laws, which are acceptable to all and to be implemented without any delay,” he added.

The minister said he had already taken the chief justice of the Peshawar High Court on board as bringing amendments to the laws without consulting the judiciary is impossible.

Sultan Muhammad suggested that the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) should be made mandatory for every civil dispute as the parties should first file their dispute before the ADR and then the civil court. He said this would reduce the backlog of thousands of cases. He suggested amendment to the preemption and tenancy laws as there is a burden of 10 to 15 percent of such cases on the courts.

The minister proposed that verbal and unregistered agreements with tenants should be considered unlawful.

He suggested referring the matter of the Letter of Administration and Succession Certificates to the legal heirs to the Nadra to receive it in two or three months as currently half of the country population is engaged in courts for getting these documents after pursuing a difficult legal process.

Sultan Muhammad presented a proposed action plan for improvement in Human Rights Directorate.

The plan comprises a review of the human rights law and rules, inclusion of human rights and peace education in the curriculum of higher education, law and social sciences, helpline to be set up in the Directorate of Human Rights and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Virtual Platform (KPVP) to be established in Law Department for centralization of reporting.

The law minister proposed that free legal assistance to a victim at the district level should be provided by the district attorneys in all cases related to human rights.

UNDP representative Ms Shagufta said no civil nature litigation has been decided by a court in the province within one year after promulgation of the law by the KP government in January 2018. She said stakeholders need to sit together and remove hurdles to ensure inexpensive and expeditious justice to the people.

The KP government sought suggestions from the participants for provision of inexpensive and expeditious justice in the Civil Procedure Code and Human Rights Law.

Among others, Secretary Law Zakaullah Khattak, senior lawyers including Qazi Muhammad Anwar, Gul Sadbar Khan, Babar Yousafzai, Asif Jalal, Mian Naveed Gul, Barrister Babar Imran Shehzad and additional advocate generals including Jamshid Ali, Qaiser Ali Shah and Rabnawaz attended the workshop.

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