LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Monday opened the first-ever court in Punjab to deal with gender-based violence cases.

The special court would work at the Lahore Judicial Complex with an additional district & sessions judge as its presiding judge.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Chief Justice Shah regretted that the Supreme Court had in 2013 clearly issued direction for the establishment of such courts but the matter was delayed.

The CJ said women were the most vulnerable members of society as one of every three women in Punjab was victim of violence –physical, mental or domestic.

He admitted that the traditional courts failed to dispense justice among women in the society. He said the women had not been provided a friendly environment and a sense of protection in courts.

“We have to care about our mothers, sisters and daughters,” the CJ added.

Now, he said, victims (women) of violence would be able to defend their cases in a protected environment and could record statements in a separate room on video link. He said: “We have not changed any system but adopted a modern mechanism.”

Justice Shah said soon a special court to deal with children-related cases would also be opened. He also called for a supportive role from the legal fraternity to make the special court a success.

He said training courses for judges on gender sensitivity had already been commenced at Punjab Judicial Academy.

Justice Sardar Shamim, Justice Alia Neelum, Registrar Khurshid Anwar Rizvi, Lahore District & Sessions Judge Abid Qureshi, Lahore Bar Association President Chaudhry Tanvir Hussain and representatives of Asian Development Bank were also present at the event.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2017

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