::Civil and Criminal Litigation in Pakistan…

Judicial Policy aims at quick disposal of cases

“JUSTICE delayed is justice denied”, the maxim, is the driving force behind the Judicial Policy introduced by the Chief Justice about a week ago. The Judicial Policy aims at quick disposal of cases and thus providing relief to the litigants. But as the situation is, unfortunately the Judicial Policy might well be the reason for an immense increase in litigation, both civil and criminal.

Criminal and Civil litigation, in most cases, is interconnected, civil disputes lead to criminal disputes and vice-versa. The Judicial Policy provides for a period of only five days of notice in Bail before arrest cases. The period between filing of Bail application and notice to Complainant and Police to appears aims at providing the accused enough time to join the investigation with the Police and clarify his position, a notice of five days means that the accused would be left with very little time to prove his innocence to the Police where he has been involved in the case falsely. Also, the Judicial Policy provides for completion of trial within one year after its commencement, which too is not enough.

Talking about the civil litigation, most of the civil litigation involving disputes regarding property involves stay matters. The Judicial Policy provides only fifteen days for the decision of Stay matter after the institution of a civil suit. This small period of fifteen days is rather ridiculous, because generally at least fifteen days are considered a reasonable time for affecting the service of Notice to the second party. Now when the service would have to be affected in a hurried manner and stay decided in such a short period, several complications would arise.

The Judicial Policy further requires a judge to report to the High Court his inability to decide the stay matter within the specified time, if it so happens, the repercussion of which would be that every judge would aim at deciding the stay matter any way rather than going for explanation to the High Court, which would result in miscarriage of justice. Moreover, the decision of civil judge on stay matter would result in appeal against the order, the result_ increase in litigation. Mostly, the reasons behind the Hurt and Murder cases involve property disputes. When the litigants would not find justice from the court, chances are bright that criminal matters would grow large in number.

Our Civil and Criminal procedure provides for a completion of trial after recording of complete evidence and arguments from both sides. Recording of evidence, particularly in civil cases, requires a considerable time but when the things would be done in hurry, apprehension of miscarriage of justice would always be there. Our courts are flooded with files involving frivolous litigation aimed at vexing the opponent party. I believe that the situation would be a lot better if we had Law of Torts as regular law in our country. Whereas, the Judicial Policy has been formulated with high ideals of facilitating the litigants, I see it as a prelude to a new beginning which will further add to the miseries of hapless litigants.

It would rather be very proper that the Chief justice had taken steps to eradicate the evil of frivolous litigation in the first place and then move ahead to devise methods to ensure quick disposal of cases rather than fixing a time period for it.

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