ISLAMABAD, Aug 24: After the Ministry of Law and Justice missed the deadline for setting up special courts in the federal capital, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) administration has directed the secretary law to explain in writing the reason of this delay.
The deadline for the establishment of 6 special courts — anti-terrorism court, special court (FIA), control of narcotics substances (CNS), banking, custom and labour courts — was August 15, which was fixed during a meeting of Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui with the federal secretaries law and finance and the contractor of federal judicial complex on July 17.
In the said meeting it has been decided that secretary law would personally be decided the summaries from the authorities concerned and the process for the establishment of the special courts for Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) must be completed by August 15.
IHC letter addressed to the secretary law and justice asked that as to why she failed to comply with the directions.
According to the letter, IHC Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman had also directed the authorities concerned for making arrangements for holding a ceremony at the site to shift the special courts and tribunals in newly constructed court complex at Mauve Area sector G-11.
IHC administration through its letter directed the secretary law to submit the explanation in a week.
MN construction, the contractor of federal judicial complex, however, on August 15, informed the IHC administration that in accordance with the directions of the said meeting of July 17, the complex has been completed and was ready for handover.
A senior IHC official on condition of anonymity told Dawn that unless, the Law Ministry notifies, the special courts and its judges, the IHC administration could not use the building for administration of justice as currently they have to go to Rawalpindi; in case of any issue related to the anti-corruption, banking, narcotics, drug, anti-terrorism, environment, custom and labour courts. Syed Nayyab Hassan Gardezi, president of IHC bar association said that the new courts would ease burden on the existing special courts of Rawalpindi.
He said the special courts of Rawalpindi are dealing with matters related to four densely populated divisions of Rawalpindi district as well as with cases related to the ICT.
The litigants especially the residents of Islamabad were facing problems in Rawalpindi courts as these courts are located in different areas and a litigant has to change at least three to four vans in order to reach these courts.
The establishment of special courts in the ICT would provide them justice at their doorstep; he said and added that besides this, it would lessen the stress on the lawyer community.
At present, an Islamabad based lawyer has to rush to a spec.ial court at Rawalpindi to pursue the case of his client there, and then he returns to Islamabad for cases of other clients and most of the time he could not return to Islamabad within the court timing, said advocate Gardezi.
When all the courts of Islamabad would start functioning, the lawyers can also easily appear in special courts, sessions’ court and IHC in a single day and this would result in the speedy disposal of cases, he added.
He said the Law Ministry should expedite the process for the establishment of special courts in the federal capital and issue notification for the appointment of judges of these courts.
Rafique Shah, spokesman of the Law Ministry, despite repeated efforts could not be contacted for comments, the letter of Ministry of Law and Justice on August 17 to the IHC administration, however stated that, “the summaries for establishment of different courts in Islamabad have been submitted (for approval) to the prime minister secretariat on August 1, 2012.”