OVERHAULING THE JUSTICE SYSTEM OF PAKISTAN
I accept that our justice system is plagued with uncountable troubles. But I am not ready to take the blame that we do not have good laws or the mechanism. The fault lies with the persons who put these laws into operation. ———– Many of them are either incompetent or corrupt or both. Most of them are insensitive or fatigued or are working under sense of insecurity. We have no scarcity of talent or human capital. The main reasons of incompetence and corruption are merit-less induction, improper coaching, unattractive promotion structure and ineffective vigilance and accountability. If these malaise are not cured then the best substantive laws would be trampled down under the feet of procedural laws. Therefore, I am of the considered view that the battle for societal reformation can be won by fighting on three fronts simultaneously:-
1) i By new legislation and updating the old laws.
2) ii By proper coaching of the staff and officer.
3) iii. By constant monitoring and strict accountability.
1) NEW LEGISLATION AND UPDATING THE OLD LAWS:
Being a part of legal system, I often feel need that criminal and civil laws need to be revisited. Our justice system is not delivering. Some drastic and dynamic changes should be brought to make the judicial system work properly. Similarly some new legislation should also be introduced to keep a vigilant eye on the persons at the helm of affairs. Some new laws need to be introduced in order to maintain peace and stability in the society, on the subject of anti societal activities, anti social behaviors, violent strikes, spreading hatred, extremism, spreading disinformation, stalking, slapping, malicious texting, fomenting unrest in the society, curbing yellow journalism, misreporting, defamatory sketches and visuals, whistle blowing etc. Anti social elements present anywhere in the society in any form need to be netted and crushed by the iron hand of law. This is the only way, where law can come in aid of security. I strongly believe that peace and stability is the byproduct of strict implementation of law and liberties can only be safeguarded by imparting speedy justice to the victims. I have some of other suggestions to amend the existing laws, about which I am quite sanguine that enviable targets could be achieved.
How the absconders can be countered. After getting the bail many accused break the conditions of bail and abscond. This is one of the biggest problems in the world which pile up the backlog of cases in the court. This problem can be countered by amending section 513 and 514 Cr.P.C and bail should be conditioned with deposit of cash by accused or his guarantor. Particularly in the cases of hurt, Qatl-e-Khata, vehicular injury, criminal breach of trust and financial crimes.
ii. The concept of plea bargain; summary trial, probation, community service and compensatory theory of punishment can go a long way in clearing the huge back log of cases.
iii. The right of cross examination may be made discretionary with the court in the offences entailing the punishment upto three years.
iv. There are 118 millions mobile subscribers in Pakistan. So the concept of electronic service through SMS; E-mails or T.V tickers, and phone calls should be introduced in civil and criminal cases.
v. The concept of video trial or evidence of witnesses through video conferencing and electronic appearance of accused can also be helpful in swift trials.
vi. The data of Proclaimed Offenders (P.Os.) in heinous offences should be sent to NADRA to get the CNIC of P.Os blocked under the heading of “Wanted”. And also to F.I.A for flight control.
vii. The bailiff agency can be recognized and redesigned into a Bailiff Force headed by serving police inspector. This agency will be of great assistance to get the judicial order implemented.
The biggest problem we which all the courts are battling is non co-operative attitude of the lawyers. The same problem was faced by the industrialized countries decades ago. They tackled this problem by introducing the rules for pleaders. Lawyers were brought under strict discipline they were allocated time for their cases and the system of black listing the devil’s advocates was adopted.
2) COACHING AND TRAINING OF OFFICERS.
The induction of judicial officers should be through intensive competitive exam. Then pre-service and in service training should be imparted. Judicial Academies should be made degree awarding institutions like Kakul Academy. The judicial Officers with five years’ service and after clearing entry test should be admitted for two years LLM program, one year should be academic study and second year should be assigned research work in High Court Research Centre.
The promotion should not be based on length of service only but it should be based on higher qualification and work out put.
Direct induction of ASJs should be either banned or it be made open for all qualifying the criterion. Eligibility criteria may be revised; 10 years govt. service in legal field or 15 years of legal practice and preliminary test may be prescribed.
Establishment of Directorate of Legal Education (DLE) is the most welcome step as recommended by high-powered committee formed under NJPMC to monitor the standard of legal education in Pakistan.
License to Advocates for appearance before High Court should be granted by the Hon’ble High Court after conducting entry test and interviews.
3) VIGILANCE AND MONITORING OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS:
It is the atmosphere which preserves or spoils the things. If the officers and officials are kept under constant supervision then even the refractory elements may become an asset otherwise even the angels may spoil. I therefore, recommend, three tiers monitoring system.
- A. Monitoring by immediate boss.
- B. Monitoring by penal of vigilance committee.
- C, Monitoring by M.I.T
There should be a joint committee of prosecution and investigation who could re-examine the criminal cases of acquittal. They should find the causes as to why the ratio of acquittal was dropped. If the fault lies with the investigation then the I.O should be held a countable and if the prosecution has failed to prove its case then the prosecutor should be held responsible.
The prosecution branch should be given powers to call the witnesses and to move for cancellation of bail of any accused.
MUHAMMAD EJAZ RAZA