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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Judicial Academy (KPJA) has drafted rules under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) for speedy disposal of criminal cases and initiated consultation with stakeholders for finalising them.

The draft of the KP Criminal Procedure (Case Management) Rules will later be sent to the Peshawar High Court, which will approve it before putting it up to the provincial government for notifying in the official gazette.

Senior director (administration) of the academy Ziaur Rehman told reporters here that the rules had been prepared under Section 554 of the CrPC which empowered the high court to frame rules with the approval of the provincial government for regulating proceedings of all criminal courts subordinate to it.

KPJA official says stakeholders being consulted to finalise rules

Mr Rehman, who is also an additional district and sessions judge, said last year, the academy had prepared rules under the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), which addressed the issue of delay in disposal of civil disputes.

He said the rules under the CPC were made public in Jan and that the KPJA had been actively engaged in creating awareness among the stakeholders including lawyers, judicial officers and government functionaries about those rules.

About the draft rules under the CrPC, the official said before commencing a trial, the relevant judge would hold a meeting with the relevant parties including the complainant, prosecutor and accused counsels to identify the issues related to the case and ensure that witnesses are produced in time.

He said the proposed rules were meant to discourage delay in disposal of cases and encouraging parties to cooperate in that respect.

Mr Rehman said the trial judge would fix such a date for hearing over which the parties had agreed to produce their respective evidence so as to avoid unnecessary adjournments.

He said under the proposed rules, no timeframe had been given for conclusion of a trial but it remained the endeavour that such dates would be fixed for proceedings when the required witnesses, lawyers and prosecutor would be available.

“Following the finalisation of these rules, the scope for alternate dispute resolution will widen as during consultation with the parties by the trial judge during pre-trial stage, the judge will be in a position to put forward any suggestion regarding resolving the dispute through alternate means instead of conducting trial,” he said.

The official said the draft rules also envisaged that the parties would nominate someone who would be responsible for progressing that case and that the court would also nominate a court official as progression officer.

Meanwhile, a daylong national seminar was held at the KPJA for consultation on the draft rules.

The participants included representatives from the offices of attorney general and advocate general, representatives from federal, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan judicial academies, representatives of the Law and Justice Commission and civil society members.

PHC Chief Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Qalandar Ali Khan also attended the seminar and expressed the hope that those rules would help with the speedy disposal of criminal cases.

The participants were divided into three groups before they put forth recommendations for making the draft rules more effective.

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2018