RAWALPINDI: In a major breakthrough, the PTI-led government in Punjab is going to make amendments to the Police Order 2002 in order to introduce Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism in the province.
The home department has sent the proposal to the law department to convert it into a bill which will be presented in the provincial cabinet for approval next week. The law department has completed its homework in this regard.
The basic aim of the formation of the ADR councils is to solve local issues out of court which will lessen the burden on the judiciary and the police.
The police will be able to focus on the investigation of criminal and other cases instead of involving itself in petty matters.
Provincial assembly in its upcoming session will approve bill to amend Police Order 2002 for establishment of the councils, law minister says
Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat told Dawn that the provincial assembly would approve more than 21 bills, including the Police Order 2002 amendment, in its upcoming session.
“The government wants to introduce the ADR mechanism in the province to provide speedy justice to the citizens at the local level. It will also lessen the burden on courts.”
He said the PTI government had introduced the ADR council system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which was a successful experience and the people got justice at their doorsteps without shuttling between police stations and courts.
He said proposals were given by the police and the home department to make amendments to the Police Order 2002 for the establishment of the ADR councils at the district, tehsil and police station level to solve minor family disputes and other issues.
He said instead of registering a First Information Report (FIR) regarding a petty issue the police would refer the case to the ADR council concerned.
The council will solve the issue as soon as possible and if necessary will send the matter to the court.
“The district police officer will nominate the council members after consultations with the local notables and prominent personalities. The provincial government will make sure that the nominees of the ADR councils are known personalities having respect and good repute among the local people,” he said.
He said women members would be an integral part of the ADR system so that women would feel free to contact the councils for the resolution of their problems.
The ADR system proved successful in KP but in many areas the councils faced difficulties in resolving different issues and the Punjab government would study these anomalies to match with the local environment.
A senior official of the home department told Dawn that the concept of ADR councils was not new in Punjab as reconciliation committees already existed in every city, town and village of the province to resolve family disputes such as divorce.
He said the establishment of the ADR councils would solve local issues so that the judiciary would focus on pending cases.
On the other hand, lawyers are of the view that the ADR mechanism would not work properly in Punjab due to its different environment.
District Bar Association former president and senior advocate Malik Jawad Khalid said the ADR councils would be old wine in new bottle as “we experienced reconciliation committees at police stations during Muharraf’s local government system which was not workable and limited to solve matters of divorce and other minor issues.”
He said instead of introducing a new system, there was a need to strengthen the old legal and administrative system by removing the hurdles which had been observed in the past.
He said pending cases were increasing in courts for which lawyers, litigants and courts were equally responsible.
“If the government wants to introduce a system for out-of-court settlement of petty disputes, legislation should be made to set a timeframe for the judicial course. A fine should be imposed on the party which caused delay in reaching a decision,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2018