Thursday February 22, 2024

SC asks ministries to implement police committee report

October 04, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has written a letter to Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Law and Justice for implementation of the report of the Police Reforms Committee constituted by the Chief Justice of Pakistan as chairman of the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan.

"I am directed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan/Chairman Law and Justice Commission to inform you that the then Chief Justice of Pakistan constituted the Police Reforms Committee on May 15, 2018 consisting of a number of well-reputed retired and all serving Inspector Generals' of Police to make recommendations to address major police professional matters, especially flaws in investigation and the ineffective police accountability," stated the letter issued by Dr Muhammad Raheem Awan, secretary Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, on Thursday.

In the letter, a copy of which is available with The News, it was stated that the Police Reforms Committee (PRC) held several meetings, including those with two top lawyers of Pakistan. It said the committee submitted the first volume of its report relating to Model Police Law, 2018 containing specific provisions, including Investigation, Police Accountability, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Urban Policing.

It said the PRC submitted the second volume of the report relating to "Accountability, Operational Matters and Legislative Reforms" in September 2018. It added that the PRC report titled "Police Reforms: Way Forward" was formally launched on January 14, 2019 by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar.

"Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and chairman of Law and Justice Commission as a matter of priority placed special focus on redressal of public complaints, improvement in quality of investigation, training of investigation officers, prosecutors and judges and Criminal Justice Reforms with reference to antiterrorism cases," the letter stated.

It said that the Chief Justice of Pakistan, while addressing opening ceremony of the New Judicial Year 2019-20 on September 11, observed that no meaningful reforms can be introduced in the Criminal Justice Sector unless the police in the country are also reformed and for the purpose PRC was constituted under the umbrella of Law and Justice Commission with the chief justice of Pakistan as its chairman.

The chief justice observed that it was decided by the committee to set up the office of Superintendent of Police (Complaints) in every district of the country so that people having grievances against the working of the local police should have a forum available within the police department to approach it for redressal of their grievances instead of approaching a court of law straightaway. According to statistics of the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan, in the last few months, 96,026 aggrieved persons have approached the offices of SP (Complaints) and the grievances of 89.609 of them have satisfactorily been redressed by that forum.

"The statistics also show that establishment of such forum of internal accountability within the police department has led to 39.7 percent reduction in filing of such complaints before the district judiciary in the country under section 22-A (6) CrPC and 14.2 percent reduction in institution of writ petitions in this field in the high courts of the country," the letter stated.

It was pointed out that if this reform had not been established by the PRC then 89,609 cases would have been filed before the courts which are already overburdened with work.

"The idea of Police Complaint Redressal Centres demonstrates the public confidence and trust. This idea has reduced unnecessary burden of thousands of cases on judiciary on the one hand, whereas on the other, the general public remained ultimate beneficiary of these complaints redressal centres," the letter stated. It added that the Supreme Court in its judgment on January 21, 2109 in Civil Appeals has put to rest any ambiguity about the constitutional status of the police laws.

"The implementation of the PRC report requires the attention of the executive authorities and the legislature and should now be completed as soon as possible so that the institutions need to be put in place for external accountability along with improvements in laws in accordance with the judgments of the superior courts with coordination of the provincial governments.

It said the chief justice has conveyed that the operational and administrative autonomy of the police is as vital as the independence of the judiciary and that any steps by the concerned functionaries should strictly adhere to the verdict of the Supreme Court judgment referred above.

"In the circumstances, the undersigned is directed to share aforementioned reports of Police Reforms Committee for necessary action under intimation to the office as Chief Justice of Pakistan reviews progress on a monthly basis," the letter added. Suggestions made to improve legislation process in KP Assembly Nisar Mahmood

PESHAWAR: Amendments were suggested at an orientation session on Thursday to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly's Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules to improve the legislation process.

The United Rural Development Organisation (URDO) had organised the session with journalists. It was pointed out that the first KP Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules were framed in 1973 and the last in 1988. A total of 10 amendments have been made so far in it, the last one in 2015. But more amendments are needed to improve the procedure.

URDO Executive Director Zahir Khattak said his organisation had forwarded 108 recommendations to the KP Assembly through the Provincial Governance Support Group for introducing amendments to the rules and business. It was added that 11 standing committees of the provincial assembly had not held even a single meeting in one year. Sharing the proposed amendments and suggestions, Rao Akram Khurram advocate said it was the need of the hour to improve the procedure so that proceedings of the provincial legislature could be brought on a par with the modern democratic world.

He said some definitions need clarity for easy access of the law makers as well as public. First of all the process of election of speaker should be made easy as in the present rules outgoing speaker has to preside over the election process and in case of tie, his/her vote would be decisive even if not elected member at the time.

For communication to members about early call of a setting, it shall be intimated through announcement on radio, TV, website and by sending SMS and email at authentic email address. Another suggestion was that the speaker should ascertain quorum at the commencement of each sitting and at the time of voting on bills and resolutions.

The speaker shall ascertain from ministers whether any undertaking, statement, promise or commitment made on the floor of the House is government assurance. In the rules of business, the word chairman should be replaced with chairperson for the panel of chairmen.

Working days of the session or setting should also be defined along with timing as sometimes a sitting last just for a few minutes.

The suggestions also include increasing the time of question hour, fixing the time for putting a question on the agenda and limiting supplementary questions over a question raised on the floor of the House. It was suggested that privilege committee meeting should be convened within a week and its report submitted in a month.