High court intends to clear backlog of cases in five years

Updated 29 Sep 2020

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For the policy’s implementation, the province has been divided into A, B and C zones on the basis of the projected and current institution and backlog of cases. — APP/File
For the policy’s implementation, the province has been divided into A, B and C zones on the basis of the projected and current institution and backlog of cases. — APP/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has launched the Five Years Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Policy (2020-25) to clear backlog of cases across the province by the end of Aug 2025. For the policy’s implementation, the province has been divided into A, B and C zones on the basis of the projected and current institution and backlog of cases.

The policy requires the gradual reduction of backlog of cases from every zone annually on the ratio of 20, 30 and 100 per cent, respectively, said a news release issued here.

According to the policy, the high court had declared 2018-19 and 2019-20 the first and second Performance Year respectively.

The release said during the period, the high court and district judiciary had encountered multiple challenges such as the lawyers’ strikes, outbreak of Covid-19, a lack of proper infrastructure in the newly-merged districts, inadequate human resource and logistic constraints, which adversely affected their performance in terms of execution of its business leading to an increase in pending cases.

Launches Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Policy 2020-25

The high court took the initiative of devising the Five Years Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Policy (2020-25) to promote transparency and consistency with a view to achieve the target of clearing the backlog of cases and provide speedy justice to the people.

After holding discussions with the judges of district courts, Chief Justice of the high court Waqar Ahmad Seth approved the policy for its launch.

The policy has prescribed the monitoring of judicial officers at three levels.

According to it, targets in every district have been laid down for the assessment of the performance of judicial officers at the end of every month.

“The district and sessions judge, being head of the district and a team leader, will monitor the performance of his/her district on monthly basis and the Data Analysis Wing established at the Secretariat of District Judiciary will keep a track of the performance of every district and every judicial officer on quarterly basis.

“The DSJs shall submit quarterly reports of all courts highlighting those who do not achieve the targets along with reasons and action plan for removing the deficiency in the next quarter. Moreover, they shall also sensitise those judicial officers, who lag behind,” it said.

The policy said it was meant to promote the ‘culture of meritorious summary adjudication of cases’ to reduce the cost of litigation and improve public confidence in the institution, and encourage the ‘scheduling culture’ in trial cases.

It added that the role of the legal fraternity in the dispensation of justice couldn’t be overemphasised and therefore, in order to achieve the goals prescribed by the policy, the DSJ would hold the meeting of the Bench-Bar Liaison Committee on a monthly basis instead of quarterly basis.

“Efforts will be made and measures will be taken to build the capacity of judicial officers to exploit strengths, overcome weaknesses, turn the challenges into opportunities and avail the same for better performance.”

The policy said for the first time, 220 judicial working days for every judicial officer had been worked out with specified required disposal ratio.

It also said false, vexatious, and frivolous litigation should be discouraged through appropriate action under the law.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2020