NA body proposes making all but four crimes bailable

Updated March 21, 2019

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Police should only be allowed to make arrests in terrorism, murder, rape and robbery cases, MNA says. — AFP/File
Police should only be allowed to make arrests in terrorism, murder, rape and robbery cases, MNA says. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Wednesday recommended declaring all but four crimes bailable in order to protect the rights of suspects.

Committee chair MNA Riaz Fatyana said during a meeting at Parliament Lodges that the police should only be allowed to arrest people in terrorism, murder, rape and robbery cases.

“In all other cases, station house officers should be bound to take bail by submitting surety bonds themselves if suspects fail to arrange bail requirements,” he said.

Police should only be allowed to make arrests in terrorism, murder, rape and robbery cases, MNA says

Mr Fatyana also suggested while speaking to Law and Justice Commission Secretary Dr Mohammad Rahim Awan that notices should be served to wanted individuals in civilian dress.

“The suspect should be advised to come with a lawyer, the concept of pre-arrest bail should end, and the suspect should be informed that he will not be arrested unless the court directs for him to be arrested,” he said, adding that people who are arrested and then proven innocent should be compensated.

Ministry of Law and Justice Secretary Abdul Shakoor Paracha said complainants should be burdened with the cost in false FIR cases.

“Although the law was made for an honest society, unfortunately it has been applied on a dishonest society. It is my experience, being a judge and lawyer, that here cognisable offences are made non-cognisable by including some sections. It should not be at the investigation officer’s discretion to arrest the suspect,” he said.

Dr Awan said that it has been considered that, rather than allowing complainants to contact the court, under Article 22-A, for the registration of an FIR, the complaint should be sent to the superintendent of police for registration and if the complainant could go to court if dissatisfied.

He said the commission has released 138 reports, of which 41 were implemented and 26 were partially implemented. He said the rest were not implemented.

He also told the committee that as of Jan 1, there were 41,102 cases pending in the Supreme Court. By the end of February, 2,265 new cases were filed and 3,033 were disposed of, bringing the number of pending cases to 38,061.

MNA Khawaja Saad Rafique, who is in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau and attended the meeting under a production order, said he was more interested in the position of cases during the tenure of former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who visited various departments.

“The committee should know what the condition of cases was in his own institution. Moreover, we should ask how long the cases have been pending,” he said.

Former Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said that as he understood it, the committee could not direct the SC to submit a report.

“We cannot even make suggestions to them without their permission as they do not consider us an august forum. We can only grill Dr Awan, and cannot do anything else. However, the fact is that most of the disposed of cases include bail applications and suo motu cases because they do not do any other work,” he claimed.

The chair directed the law and justice ministry to submit reports on judicial enquiries into the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team and the killing of judicial officers in Sialkot jail, and inform the committee if the reports’ recommendations were implemented.

MNA Sher Ali Arbab said a report should be sought regarding the D.I. Khan jailbreak, while MNA Chaudhry Mehmood Bashir Virk suggested seeking a report on the Osama bin Laden case and asking whether recommendations were implemented.

Mr Fatyana did not comment on these remarks.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2019