PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Monday approved major amendments to the British-era’s Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, to dispose of cases within a specific period.
Briefing media about the cabinet’s meeting, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak claimed that the government was making amendments to the law, for the first time in the last 109 years, to ensure provision of speedy justice and prevention of unnecessary litigation in civil disputes.
He said the amendments to the CPC were discussed with stakeholders, including judges of the Peshawar High Court, in order to simplify the procedures.
After the cabinet’s approval, the government will notify the rules in the CPC that were framed by the Colonial Empire for the entire Sub-Continent in 1908.
CM declares extension of courts’ jurisdiction a ‘fraud’ with Fata people’
An official told Dawn that the amendments were approved by the Peshawar High Court’s administrative committee.
He said the PHC committee had recommended certain amendments to the rules.
The official said after the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the CPC was devolved as provincial subject enabling the provincial government to make changes to the law.
“The government is amending this law for the first time in the history,” said the CM.
Accompanied by law minister Imtiaz Shahid and advocate general Abdul Latif Yousafzai, he said he had directed the chief secretary to discuss with the Peshawar High Court the existing problems of the judiciary, including shortage of judges in lower courts.
The proposed amendments say a system of case management and scheduling conference has been proposed under the supervision of the court for expeditious disposal of cases and to discourage frivolous litigation by engaging the counsel and parties in the case.
The amendment proposes 60 days for the court to complete the pleading stage, including miscellaneous application, and if any order is passed by the court on the miscellaneous application, the same shall not be appealable or revisable except in an appeal or revision in the same suit.
After amendment to the law, all miscellaneous applications shall be decided within 60 days and therefore, the prolonged litigation on miscellaneous applications shall end.
Another highlight of the amendment is that after the pleading stage, 30 days have been fixed for investigation, inspection and examination of all the exhibits and if the court deem appropriate may pass summary judgments.
The trial stage will commence and the issues shall be framed within a period of seven days and the court shall complete the trial within a year by making all its efforts to hold day-to-day trial.
Another amendment envisages imposition of penalties on the parties, who fail to obey case management and scheduling order.
The court has been given the power of the summary judgment at any stage of proceedings on the suit.
The appellate court, according to the proposed amendment, has been given the responsibility to preferably record additional evidence itself at the appellate stage. The civil court and the appellate courts shall announce the judgment within 15 days.
The execution proceeding has also been brought under the purview of case management and scheduling conference and it is pertinent to mention that for the purpose of compelling the judgment debtor for execution of the decree include the blockage of the computerised national identity card.
Responding to a question about the Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Bill, 2018, passed by the National Assembly, Mr Khattak termed it a major ‘fraud with the people of Fata’.
“A drama is being played with tribal people as the federal government has deviated from its commitment to merge tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said.
The CM said a high-level committee consisting of the prime minister and army chief had decided that the people of Fata would be given representation in the 2018 general elections apart from other major reforms in the area. He said the extension of the Supreme Court and Peshawar High Court was one part of the package.
“I was a member of the committee, which agreed on the Fata-KP merger,” he said and adding that the merger was being delayed at the behest of few people.
“I believe there is conspiracy behind the delay in merger,” he said.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2018