LAHORE: The National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) on Saturday expressed concern over backlog of cases in all cadres of the judiciary and resolved to fill all vacant posts of judges within six months.

A meeting of the committee held at the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry, noted that vacancies in administrative tribunals and special courts working under federal and provincial jurisdictions and remarked that there was a huge pendency of revenue, banking and commercial cases which might affect public revenues and the economy.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmad presided over the meeting being chairman of the NJPMC.

Federal Shariat Court Chief Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai, Sindh High Court Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Shaikh, Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Baluchistan High Court Chief Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mamoon Rashid Sheikh attended the meeting.

CJP Gulzar remarked that the NJPMC in order to provide speedy and expeditious justice to the deserving litigants had done substantial work under its mandate, however, there was still room for further progress.

He observed that the vacancies in all cadres of the judiciary, administrative tribunals and special courts be immediately filled for clearance of the backlog.

The meeting also resolved that the high courts might maintain a calendar whereby the process of appointment could be initiated in advance against a post which was likely to fall vacant.

It observed that the high courts should take up the issue with respective federal and provincial governments for resolution of th issue as not filling up the vacant posts resulted in increase in cases backlog, which compromised trust of the public in the judiciary.

The meeting directed the NJPMC secretary to make arrangements for putting in place “Case Follow Management Systems” in all the administrative tribunals and special courts. It also decided that adjudication of old appeals and writ petitions might be prioritised.

The NJPMC remarked that a recent judgment by the SC regarding gender based violence and juvenile justice cases should be disseminated to the judicial officers entrusted with such cases.

The committee also directed its secretary to collect district-wise data from police and the judiciary regarding juveniles who were kept in lockups, handcuffed and produced in courts along with adult offenders, in violation of Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018.

It was briefed on the performance of cells established in the high courts for eradication of corruption. It resolved that zero tolerance should be adopted against corruption.

It approved recommendation of National Judicial Automation Committee (NJAC) regarding establishment of core team of National Judicial Automation Unit (NJAU) at the old building of the Federal Judicial Academy.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2020