Justice online

February 16, 2014

Justice online

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has introduced E-Citizens Grievance Redressal System -- a unique justice system in Pakistan through which the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas, especially the distressed and poor segment of society, would get justice within hours.

The PHC would now receive complaints and applications just on a phone call, SMS or email through the Human Rights Directorate (HRD). The litigants would also receive reports on progress in their cases through phone, email or SMS. The HRD mostly deals with the cases of violation of basic human rights.

People now file complaints in the Human Rights Directorate (HRD) via phone and email to get justice free of charge. The E-Citizens Grievance Redressal System started functioning a few days ago and has received 300 complaints so far through phone calls and emails across the province.

Director HRD for female litigants, Riffat Amir, told TNS the objective of the system is to develop an effective grievance redressal mechanism for the citizens of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially the most vulnerable segment of society. The system is designed and developed with a view to achieve a uniform and systematic approach by adopting a comprehensive classification and standardisation of grievances and redressal.

She said that citizens from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will now be able to register a complaint through any means of communication including voice phone call, SMS, fax, email, web form available at the HRD website, normal postal email or by personally visiting HRD. 

Currently, majority of complainants, mostly women from KP and Fata, had filed their complaints against the law-enforcing and spy agencies for whisking away their husbands and sons and keeping them in illegal detention. 

Through E-system, people will get justice and reply in hours, not weeks, the HRD director said. The KP government has started the new system for free and quick justice with the financial assistance of World Bank. She said that the then chief justice of PHC had introduced this new system.

An official, part of the new system, said that they were receiving complaints from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm on phone number 091-9213632. "This is the fastest justice system in the whole of Asia. People will get justice through the new system within 24 hours," the then PHC Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, now judge of the Supreme Court, had claimed in his address to the inauguration ceremony of the new justice system.

The CJP, Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, in his address at the inaugural ceremony, appreciated the efforts of the then chief justice of PHC for introducing the new system of justice. He said it was Justice Dost Muhammad Khan who started the first mobile court from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which successfully started its functioning and now the E-Citizens Grievance Redressal System for free and expeditious justice.

A lawyer dealing with the missing persons and human rights cases, Muhammad Arif Jan, told TNS that the HRD new system would not only encourage the helpless and distressed people of the society to approach the higher court for justice, but they would also receive justice in hours, which was unbelievable in the current judicial system of the country.

He said poor people used to travel from far-flung areas of the province for filing their written applications or complaints in the HRD. "Now through the new system they would just call or email to the HRD and then would also receive progress report on the case on email or phone."

Currently, majority of complainants, mostly women, from KPK and Fata had filed their complaints in the PHC through HRD against the law-enforcing and spy agencies for whisking away their husbands and sons and keeping them in illegal detention.

A Human Rights Cell was established in year 2009, but it was upgraded on October 13, 2013 to Human Rights Directorate due to its remarkable results in solving complaints of the applicants. The objective of Human Rights Directorate (HRD) Peshawar High Court is to provide expeditious and free of cost justice to the poor and vulnerable segment of society.

The Human Rights Directorate has received a total of 9970 cases in the last two years and disposed of 6924 cases with a ratio of almost 70 per cent. The director HRD claimed that the complainants had received justice in about 65 per cent cases within 72 hours of the disposal of their cases.

The PHC plans to extend the branches of HRD to other circuit benches of the PHC including Abbottabad, Bannu, Chitral, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat (Darul Qaza).

"We have received complaints about police excesses, domestic violence, Swara cases and against various government departments from across the province through phone calls under the new system," said Muhammad Nazir Bhatti, Director Human Rights Directorate for male litigants.

He told TNS that the directorate, after receiving complaints, immediately takes notice on complaints and issues notices to the relevant authorities and respondents. "The process is highly confidential and the directorate keeps the names and other processes secret."

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