LAHORE: A lawyers’ representative convention on Tuesday rejected decisions of the National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) regarding curbing powers of judicial officers while acting as ‘Justice of Peace’ under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and to ensure conclusion of murder trial in four days.

Districts and sessions judges and additional district and sessions judges have been exercising powers of ‘justice of peace’ under section 22-A and 22-B of CrPC since an amendment was made in the law in 2002.

Under the provision the judicial officers were empowered to order registration of an FIR over a complaint if the concerned police officer declined to register the same.

The NJPMC in its recent meeting decided that since a police complaint redressal mechanism under the command of a SP rank officer had been made functional at district level in the country, applications under section 22-A/22-B of CrPC may not be entertained by the courts unless accompanied by decision of the relevant district SP complaints. The convention in its declaration demanded that the NJPMC immediately withdraw its decisions, otherwise, lawyers would launch a series of protests across the country.

It announced that lawyers would observe a complete boycott of courts on April 4 and next convention would be held in Karachi against the ‘unconstitutional’ decisions of the NJPMC.

The convention also called for amendment in the Constitution to make the process of judges’ appointment more transparent with a role of the parliament. Lawyers’ leaders observed that the existing process for the judges’ elevation failed to produce meaningful results and side lined the role of the bar.

It demanded that rules be framed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution to provide right to appeal to aggrieved party in suo motu cases. It also sought speedy decisions on all pending references under Article 209 of the Constitution against judges of the higher courts.

The convention resolved that a special committee under the supervision of Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman Amjad Ali Shah will take up the matter with Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on March 28.

It decided that a series of lawyers’ representative convention would be held in all provincial capitals. Lawyers from across Pakistan attended the convention held at the Lahore High Court Bar Association.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2019