Judicial system

October 10, 2019

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APROPOS the editorial ‘Justice:18 years late’ (Aug 27). This phenomenon is not uncommon in our judicial system but what is worse is that nobody gets punished for being responsible for miscarriage of justice. Unless there is retribution for negligent prosecution which results in destroying the whole life of an individual, miscarriage of justice will continue. Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

In fact it would not be wrong to say that our judicial system, based on the English adversarial system, has by now virtually collapsed. Examples from criminal cases are abundant but the examples from civil cases are horrifying. There are cases in our courts which await decision even after a quarter of a century having gone by. It is said that justice delayed is justice denied but justice delayed for so long is truly justice gone astray!

Much has been said about introducing alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration and mediation, but there too, the record is just as bad. Those in power do not realise that the collapse of the judicial system also drives away foreign investors who, when choosing a country to invest in, invariably first investigate the viability of the system of dispute resolution in that state.

In the corridors of power in recent days there has been talk of introducing reforms by making amendments to the court procedure codes, but that is akin to darning socks while the apparel remains just as frayed as before and thus will bring about no change.

What is required is to change our decrepit adversarial judicial system itself and adopt a much more efficient inquisitorial system such as the civil law system prevalent in Europe and in Turkey.

One would like to point out this is not much different from the Sharia system, the adopting of which has an added benefit as it will serve to appease religious stalwarts, currently the bane of our society.

M. Shaiq Usmani

Karachi

Published in Dawn, October 10th, 2019