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July 29, 2020

Supreme Court takes notice of non-provision of video link facilities in NAB courts

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July 29, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday took strong exception to non-compliance of its order regarding linking NAB courts and detention centers through video link to avoid delays in trials.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan heard the bail application of one Muhammad Javed Akhtar Chaudhry.

The court issued notices to Attorney General, advocate generals of Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) for explaining as to why the facility of video link was not yet managed in the detention centers in twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad by the authorities concerned even in this technology era. Shah Khawar, counsel for the petitioner, Muhammad Javed Akhtar Chaudhry submitted before the court as per last order of the court, the concerned authorities have not yet made arrangement for connecting the NAB courts and detention centers through video link in order to avoid delays in trials.

He informed the court that even the ICT has no jail and sends prisoners to Adiala jail. He pleaded that apart from Attorney General, notices should also be issued to Advocate General Punjab as well as Advocate General Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Shah Khawar pleaded the court to grant bail to his client however, the court observe that the matter be fixed again for hearing after Eidul Azha’ Imranul Haq, Deputy Prosecutor General, NAB submitted before the court that no progress has been made in the case of the accused as he said that in pursuance of the court’s last order the anti-graft body wrote letters to federal government as well as the IG Prison reading the instant matter.

He informed the court that trails of accused persons including Asif Ali Zardari as well as Anwar Majeed are in progress through video link facility, available in Karachi however, he submitted that such a facility is not yet been provided by the federal government either in Adiala Jail and other detentions centers.

The court than issued notices to Attorney General, Advocate General Punjab as well as Advocate General Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

As per the case, Muhammad Javed Akhtar Chaudhry, Secretary Union Council, Rawat was arrested by NAB on August 27, 2019 for his involvement in misappropriation of funds of Union Council more than Rs70 million.

On last date of hearing held on June 3, 2020, the NAB had informed the court that the petitioner could not be produced on account of present pandemic of coronavirus, adding that due to the pandemic it was difficult to produce the under trial prisoners.

The court however, had observed that NAB authorities have enough resources to establish video link facilities looking at the present pandemic not only the state but other authorities have to live with it for an indefinite period of time

The court had observed in its order that out of the box solution and technology must be used as a solution to avoid miseries, particularly of those under detention facing trials. Trial courts should not be held hostage to the situation we are faced with”, the court had noted down in its order.

The court had directed prosecutor general to ensure that the attention of the NAB chairman and other authorities and the state is drawn to the matter and immediate action for providing and liking NAB courts and detention cells/prisons etc are connected through video link to avoid delays in trails.

The court had directed that proper video rooms be set up at all such locations with required facilities/equipment and internet/Wifi connectivity to address the malady to expedite the proceedings and reduce the miseries of the persons behind the bar.