ISLAMABAD: A data issued by the National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) has showcased that more than two million cases were pending in the Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court, high courts and the district judiciary.
Giving bifurcation of the cases, the report mentioned that 45,508 cases were pending in the Supreme Court till July 31, 188,411 cases were pending in Lahore High Court, 84,341 cases were pending in High Court of Sindh, 38,464 cases were pending in Peshawar High Court, 5,313 cases were pending in High Court of Balochistan, 15,847 cases were pending in the Islamabad High Court, 1,287,121 cases were pending in District Judiciary Punjab, 105,458 cases pending in district judiciary Sindh, 210,025 cases were pending in district judiciary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 17,000 cases were pending in district judiciary Balochistan and 43,924 cases were pending in district judiciary Islamabad.
According to annual report of the Supreme Court, the main focus of the apex court remained to evolve mechanism for early disposal of cases so several benches were constituted even in summer vacations at main as well as branch registries. However, hearings of high-profile cases including GIDC case, reference against SC judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa were held.
Justice Asif Saeed Khan examined Institution and Disposal of Cases and observed that continuous rise in pendency posed a great challenge to the working and image of the apex court and resolved that issues pertaining to backlog of cases would continue to be deliberated upon till such time, the appropriate solutions were found.
During the period under review, the issues with regard to violation of human rights in the country also remained main focus and several such cases on different subjects were registered and appropriate orders passed by the court to redress the grievances of common man in the country.
Besides such actions initiated on Human Rights side, various suo moto actions were also taken which include extension of Chief of Army Staff’s tenure, notice of video clip viral on social media containing derogatory, contemptuous and scandalous language against the institution of Judiciary and SC judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa by a local cleric in Rawalpindi and notice regarding the government measures to combat coronavirus pandemic.
Accordingly, besides 2-member or 3-member benches, larger benches were also constituted from time to time for hearing of all such cases.
In order to facilitate the litigant public on account of any emergent situation faced by them due to pendency of a case, like as bail, either before or after arrest, execution proceedings in family, rent, admission, service matters, stay and cases involving sentence upto 10 years, the policy of early fixation of such cases continued and such cases were accordingly fixed before the court from time to time.
In order to weed out the disposed of cases under Order XXXIV of Supreme Court Rules, 1980, separate section was established in 2009 where all disposed of cases are being bifurcated into two parts i.e. Part-I and Part-II under the Rules.
During the period under review, many cases have been weeded out and accordingly Part-II thereof is being auctioned as per approval of the chief justice.
The SC also decided important cases including GIDC case where a three-member bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam ordered the federal government to recover Rs405 billion Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) dues from different industries in 24 installments but blocked further collection thereafter.
The court ruled that application of the GIDC between 2011 and 2015 had accumulated a total amount of Rs700 billion, specifically for three pipeline and infrastructure projects, out of which about Rs295 billion had been collected and Rs405 billion would be recovered now.
On July 14, the Supreme Court vacated the SHC’s stay order barring the federal government from completing investigations against a number of sugar mills.
Taking up a federal government appeal against the June 23 SHC verdict suspending the operation of the sugar inquiry commission, a three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked the SHC as well as the IHC to decide within three weeks the cases pending before them pertaining to the sugar inquiry commission.
On June 31, the Supreme Court had held that the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), seized with a case, could transfer the same to any ordinary criminal court for trial under Section 23 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997. But the authority of the ATC to transfer the case under Section 23 to an ordinary criminal court for trial under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) can be exercised after taking cognizance of the case, held Justice Yahya Afridi, adding that this authority to transfer the case remained with the ATC during the proceedings of the trial till a judgment was announced.
On March 18, the Supreme Court allowed Air Marshal Arshad Malik to function as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation with full authority. He was restrained from functioning as CEO of the national flag carrier by the SHC on Dec 23 last year.
A three-judge SC bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked the PIA management to furnish a thorough business plan and different business contracts the airline had entered into with international organisations as well as the liabilities it was burdened with.
On June 29, 2019 the Supreme Court ruled that under the federal and provincial laws, adherence to disability job quota extends to both public and private sectors. A three-judge SC bench headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed issued the ruling in a case related to the rights of disabled people.
On April 27, 2019, the Supreme Court restored deduction of withholding tax, sales tax and service charges on pre-paid cellular scratch cards by vacating its earlier suspension order. On September 19, 2019 former chief justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa launched portal hosting e-court and new website of the apex court.
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