Judiciary’s role to enhance country’s prestige: CJP

LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani said on Saturday the role of judiciary would enhance the prestige of the country in the world.

Due to upholding rule of law and constitutionalism, it was gaining attention of foreign intellectuals, he said addressing a meeting of National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) here.

The Chief Justice said overwhelming participation of international delegates as compared to previous years in International Judicial Conference-2014 held in Islamabad was a proof of it. This is a good omen, he added.

He said the conference focused on important issues like judicial review of administrative actions, role of judiciary in protecting human rights, access to justice and role of judiciary in promotion of tolerance in society.

The CJP said the superior judiciary introduced information technology in its system to regulate case flow management, digitization of libraries and administrative record, SMS alert to the lawyers and electronic attendance system for the staff etc.

However, though these initiatives have increased the efficiency of the courts, “but still we are lagging behind to achieve the optimum benefit of technology,” he added.

He expressed the hope that unified integrated information system would not only foster access to important information about the case flow, but also improve the court efficiency by reducing time consuming paper base process.

“The constitution of National Judicial Automation Committee (NJAC) is an important step towards realization of this dream,” he said and added that the meeting would review status of automation project of the superior judiciary.

“We are passing through a crucial stage of history and are confronting with various problems including extremism and intolerance in society”, the CJP said.

He stated that by promoting tolerance and enforcing rights of citizens, a harmonious society could be established.

The judiciary being an important organ of the State can play a vital role in promoting tolerance by ensuring expeditious dispensation of justice, he added.

The CJP urged that year 2014 be declared a year of Promoting Religious and Cultural Tolerance in Society which had been approved by the NJPMC.

During meeting, the committee considered the request of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights for posting of judicial officers in the ministry on deputation in relaxation of National Judicial Policy.

The committee reiterated that the posting of judicial officers against executive posts was against the principle of independence of judiciary. However, keeping in view the difficulties of the Law Ministry/ Law Departments, the High Courts may allow judicial officers to join law department/ministry but in such a case, the judicial officer shall sever his relation with the judiciary.

The committee also considered the rules framed by the High Court of Sindh to regulate the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) proceedings.

The CJP/ Chairman NJPMC took exception to the situation and observed that since it had been more than ten years that section 89-A was introduced in the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) for early resolution of disputes by resorting to ADR techniques but regrettably the rules were not framed to trickle down the benefits of the provision.

After deliberations, a committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Judge Supreme Court of Pakistan, comprising a judge from each High Court to propose uniform rules to make Section 89-A of the CPC effective.

The committee also considered the recommendations of the International Judicial Conference 2014.

The committee observed that the recommendations made by the working groups were worth considering and, if implemented, would improve the administration of justice and pave the way for promoting tolerance and rule of law in society. After deliberation, the committee approved them for implementation.

During discussion, the Chief Justice of Pakistan took serious note of delay in construction of District Courts and Model Jail for Islamabad and observed that the recent suicide attack on District Court, Islamabad, wherein precious lives of litigants, lawyers and judicial officer were lost, had prompted the early completion of the projects to provide a safe and peaceful environment to litigants to pursue their cases before courts.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan constituted a committee comprising a Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a Judge of the Islamabad High Court to oversee the projects for their early completion.

The meeting was attended by Chief Justice Federal Shariat Court Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan, Chief Justice Balochistan High Court Qazi Faez Isa, Chief Justice Lahore High Court Umar Ata Bandial’Chief Justice Sindh High Court Maqbool Baqar and Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.

Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi; Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Justice Mohammad Azam Khan; Chief Judge, Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan,Justice Rana Muhammad Arshad Khan and Chief Judge, Chief Court, Gilgit-Baltistan Justice Sahib Khan also attended the meeting.