ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa on Thursday convened a meeting of the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) on April 29 to consider the legal fraternity’s suggestions on Section 22-A and 22-B of the CrPC and the establishment and functioning of model courts.
On March 11, the NJPMC had asked for opening of a complaint cell under the superintendent police (complaints) in every district of the country under sections 22A and 22B of the CrPC to deal with complaints related to unregistered FIRs and police failures to fulfil their functions and duties. Moreover, the NJPMC had also decided to set up model courts at district levels to conduct trials on day-to-day basis for ensuring expeditious justice initiative and to meet requirements of Article 37 (d) of the Constitution that asks for expeditious and inexpensive justice.
But on March 29, a delegation of the bar association and bar councils from all over the country called on the CJP to discuss resentment among the lawyers community in view of the decision taken by the NJPMC on sections 22A and 22B of the CrPC.
And after the lawyers’ delegation discussed and put forth certain suggestions regarding the complaint redressal mechanism under sections 22A and 22B, CJP Khosa assured the delegation that the issue would be taken up again in the next meeting of the NJPMC for deliberations.
Lawyers’ suggestions on Sections 22-A and 22-B of CrPC and model courts are slated to come under discussion
The meeting of April 29 has been called in this background since the legal fraternity is constantly protesting against the decision with the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) giving strike calls for every Thursday to vent their resentment.
The April 29 meeting of the NJPMC will also be attended by the chief justices of the Federal Shariat Court as well as the five high courts of the country.
The legal fraternity believes that after the NJPMC decision, instead of direct entertainment of applications of aggrieved persons by the police officials concerned, they have now to approach and appear before the SP.
This will further expand powers of the police and the decision will not only leave the aggrieved persons at the mercy of the police but will also open another avenue of male-practice at the hands of the police.
A PBC meeting, soon after the NJPMC decision had demanded immediate recalling of the decision and alleged that the decision was being viewed as the curtailment of the role of sessions judges since this supervisory role vested with the justice of peace/sessions judge to hear complaints against failure of the police to perform its duties diligently.
On the other hand the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP) explained that these statutory provisions had never been altered or amended rather still held the field and the justices of peace still enjoyed statutory powers and they could issue directives for redressal of complaints regarding non-registration of FIR and grievances against police.
The new police redressal mechanism just provides an alternative to the three tiers police redressal complaint system as enunciated in 2016 judgement of the Supreme Court in which it was held that for redressal of grievances, the complainant has to approach the SHO, DPO/SSP and RPO/DIG.
Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2019