Change of procedure can ensure speedy justice: CJ
KARACHI: Rejecting the demand for increasing the number of judges as the only way to speedy dispensation of justice, Chief Justice of Pakistan Nazim Hussain Siddiqui stressed on Friday the need for changes to the procedure to achieve the purpose.
He was speaking as chief guest at the annual dinner of the Sindh High Court Bar Association. “Increasing the number of judges is not the solution, but the solution lies in bringing about drastic changes to the procedure,” he said. He said in the USA the number of Supreme Court judges was only nine, but they had evolved a procedure compatible with speedy dispensation of justice. He referred to frequent adjournments of cases sought by lawyers and said if the present system was to survive drastic changes would have to be made to the litigation and pleading procedure. Elaborating, he said when he assumed the charge as the Chief Justice of Pakistan, lawyers used to present voluminous books spread over hundreds of pages.
“Instead, I asked lawyers for brief description of cases and to do the rest of pleading. The change to procedure turned out to be a big success as cases which were decided in months and weeks began taking a day or at the maximum two to reach a decision,” explained Justice Siddiqui. He said what at present was done in courts was “paper justice” as it more than often lost its impact when implemented.
An important aspect of administration of justice was time, he said, adding: “If justice is not delivered to a person who knocks at the door of a court, then what is the purpose of justice,” he asked.
The chief justice said wherever he went in the country he asked lawyers for suggestions and proposals to improve the procedures. However, he deplored that whatever response he received was, at least in his opinion, was not satisfactory.
He said if the disposal of cases continued at the current slow speed the number of cases would continued to pile up. Despite the disposal of 19,000 cases last year, the number of pending cases at present was 25,000 and given the current slow speed of disposal and increasing litigation it would soon be touching the figure of 50,000, he added.
Justice Siddiqui said government departments were also responsible for the swelling numbers of cases. In the recent past there were very few cases filed by government departments and against government departments, the Chief Justice said, adding that now the situation had changed and more litigation was directed against government departments and functionaries. The reason, he said, was that government functionaries did not discharge their duties according to the principles. “The government should ensure that its functionaries perform their duties as assigned,” he emphasised.
The chief justice stressed the need to adopt an alternative system of resolving minor disputes to reduce burden of litigation on courts.