NA panel clears changes to civil procedure code

Updated August 22, 2019

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The National Assembly’s standing committee on law and justice on Wednesday cleared the civil procedure code (CPC) amendment bill to substantially reduce time for disposal of civil cases. — APP/File
The National Assembly’s standing committee on law and justice on Wednesday cleared the civil procedure code (CPC) amendment bill to substantially reduce time for disposal of civil cases. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s standing committee on law and justice on Wednesday cleared the civil procedure code (CPC) amendment bill to substantially reduce time for disposal of civil cases.

The NA committee considered “The Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (Government Bill)” and after detailed deliberations recommended that the bill be passed by the assembly.

Briefing the committee members on the bill, the law minister said the average time frame for a civil suit was between 30 and 40 years at present. He expressed the hope that the amendment would limit this time to less than a couple of years.

While explaining the proposed amendments, he said the ministry had suggested abolition of a second round of litigation by treating the SC’s order in the first round as the final decree.

In the first round, he added, two civil judges would conduct simultaneous proceedings — one for stay matters and another for trial proceedings — to prevent delays because of stay matters. If the case was decided, the stay would lapse automatically, he said. Instead of a district and sessions judge hearing an appeal against a civil judge order, a single bench of the high court will be the appellate bench and instead of an intra-court appeal, a plaintiff may approach the SC for a final decision on a matter.

Abolition of a second round of litigation suggested to cut time for disposal of suits

However, Dr Nafisa Shah and Aliya Kamran submitted their note of dissent on the amendment bill.

At the request of the law ministry, the standing committee deferred till its next meeting “The Muslim Family Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (Section 4) (Government Bill)” and “The Muslim Family Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (Section 7) (Government Bill)”.

Child marriage bill rejected

However, the committee also had detailed deliberations on the Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which had been moved by lawmaker Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, and decided with a majority vote against its passage by the assembly.

Meanwhile, the Punjab home department briefed the standing committee on a report of the judicial commission on the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore and about the killing of judges in Sialkot district jail.

The NA body directed representatives of the provincial home department and the establishment division to take the officials named in the judicial commission report on the Sri Lankan team incident to task and to initiate disciplinary proceedings against them at the earliest.

About the Sialkot jail shooting, the committee appreciated the action taken by the Punjab prisons department, but expressed dissatisfaction with the briefing and response of the Punjab police. The NA body showed its displeasure over the poor performance of the police department and deferred the agenda with a direction to the representative of the home department and the establishment division that the officials responsible for the incident be taken to task and disciplinary proceedings under efficiency and discipline rules be initiated against them.

Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2019