The meeting was attended by Mr. Justice Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan, Chief Justice, Federal Shariat Court, Mr. Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Chief Justice High Court of Balochistan, Mr. Justice Maqbool Baqar, Chief Justice High Court of Sindh, Mr. Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, Chief Justice Peshawar High Court and Mr. Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Chief Justice Lahore High Court, Members of the Committee.
Mr. Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, Judge Supreme Court of Pakistan/Chairman, National Judicial Automation Committee (NJAC), Mr. Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi, Chief Justice Islamabad High Court, Mr. Justice Mohammad Azam Khan, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Justice Rana Muhammad Arshad Khan, Chief Judge, Supreme Appellate Court Gilgit-Baltistan, Mr. Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal, Chief Justice, High Court of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Mr. Justice Sahib Khan, Chief Judge, Chief Court of Gilgit-Baltistan also attended the meeting on special invitation.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan/Chairman, NJPMC in his introductory/speech remarked that this is the last meeting of NJPMC of my tenure. He expressed his satisfaction on the achievement of the NJPMC pursuant to National Judicial Policy formulated in the aftermath of heightened expectations of the general public after restoration of the judiciary. According to him, the Policy was aimed at ensuring independence of the judiciary, clearance of backlog by focusing on timely disposal of cases, especially oldest and old one and eradication of the corruption. He further remarked that special importance has been given to cases of under trail prisoners languishing in jails. Cases involving violation of fundamental rights and personal liberty and cases involving public revenue and good governance have also been prioritized for early disposal.
Precisely highlighting the successes and achievements of the Policy, the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan remarked that for ensuring independence of judiciary and its separation from executive, the Chief Justices and judges of the Superior Courts were restricted from accepting appointments as acting Governors of the Provinces and other posts lower to their status and the retired Judges appointed on such posts were asked to voluntarily relinquish the charge of such posts to earn respect and uphold the principles of independence of judiciary. He further remarked that the Policy lays stress for placing of Special Courts and Tribunals under the administrative control of the Judiciary and appointing qualified Presiding Officers in such courts/tribunals on the recommendations of Chief Justices of the respective High Courts and the practice of appointment of retired Judges/Judicial Officers as Presiding Officers of such Courts has been disapproved. All the Judicial Officers working on executive posts against the spirit of independence of Judiciary were recalled and deployed in field to utilize their services in expeditious disposal of cases.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan further remarked that after the application of the Policy in June, 2009 the Judiciary has decided 12.48 million cases till now which is a hallmark in the judicial history and the district Judiciary has been able to decide almost all oldest cases (i.e. instituted up to 31st December, 2008). He further remarked that the Police authorities have been put on board to ensure timely completion of investigation and submission of challans within the stipulated period which are the main causes of delay in administration of justice. He also remarked that the Policy provides zero tolerance for corruption in its all forms and manifestations, so Judges of the Superior Courts and Judicial Officers were directed to follow the Code of Conduct and the Chief Justices of the High Courts were asked to report violations of Code of Conduct including inefficient performance for action. Cells for eradication of corruption are established in each High Court and during the last couple of years scores of corrupt judicial officers and court staff have been taken to task.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan further remarked that after implementation of Policy, Courts were sensitized to make use of the law of the Probation of Offenders Ordinance, 1960 to extend its benefit to the deserving offenders and resultantly by invoking the provisions of the said Ordinance, in Punjab 88729 offenders, in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa 5163, in Sindh 3195 and in the Province of Balochistan 73 offenders have been released on probation. Similarly, in order to lessen the sufferings of the prison inmates and to ensure provision of food and other facilities for them under the Jail Manual, the District and Sessions Judges and Additional District and Sessions Judges are fortnightly visiting jails to examine the record and overall situation in jails for taking corrective measures and it is quite encouraging that after the implementation of the Policy the problem of congestion in jails has been eased to certain extent. The valuable recommendations of the Workshop on Prisoners’ Rights organized on 2nd November, 2013 for ensuring the rights of the prisoners during confinement will also bring positive impact on prison sector. He further remarked that pursuant to the Policy, the judiciary has considerably being strengthened in terms of human resource and infrastructure and efforts are being made for Integrated Automation System for the Judiciary to facilitate the litigants to have access to necessary information regarding their cases.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan congratulated the Members of the Committee for successful implementation of the policies formulated under the auspices of NJPMC and also appreciated the district judiciary of all the provinces including the district judiciary of Islamabad Capital Territory for successful implementation of the Policy and achieving its objectives which would have been an elusive dream without their active involvement. The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan hoped and prayed that momentum gained in the recent years will be sustained and further accelerated in order to provide inexpensive and expeditious justice to all and sundry as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in line with the growing aspirations of the people.
The Committee was informed about the progress regarding installation of Unified Integrated Automation Systems in the Superior Courts and District Judiciary. The Committee directed for exploring fund generation mechanism to meet the expenses to be incurred for establishment of National Judicial Automation Unit (NJAU).
The Members of the Committee unanimously adopted a resolution for paying tributes to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan on his retirement and thanked him for his unmatchable and untiring efforts for promoting the cause of justice. They appreciated him for his courage, leadership qualities and indevours for implementation of National Judicial Policy and prayed for his prosperous future.