ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday directed the Ministry of Law and Justice to make arrangements for bringing the staff of special courts under the administrative control of the IHC in a month.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah also sought details about facilities for the proposed lawyers’ complex.
Hearing a petition filed by senior advocate Chaudhry Mohammad Akram against the ‘uncongenial environment’ at the district courts and special courts, Justice Minallah directed the federal government to complete the formalities for the construction of the state-of-the-art Judicial Complex. Besides the law ministry was instructed to submit a plan “regarding the facilities it intends to establish on the separate vacant five acres for the use of litigants and lawyers.”
Current administrative setup violates principle set by SC on separation of executive, judicial branches, Chief Justice Minallah observes
The court noted that the planning and execution of the Lawyers Complex project will be subject to compliance with the Capital Development Authority Ordinance 1960 and regulations.
The Ministry of Law and Justice Division will ensure that before the next date of hearing, the administrative arrangement of the staff working in the special courts is brought in consonance with the principle of separation of the executive and judiciary, the court ruled, adding the federal government will either improve the working conditions at the accountability courts and other special courts established at the Federal Judicial Complex to the satisfaction of the respective registrars or arrange alternative buildings in order to put an end to violation of fundamental rights of the litigants.
The court expected that the law ministry would share and consult with the Islamabad Bar Council its proposed plan for establishing facilities for litigants and lawyers on the five-acre vacant plot earmarked for this purpose.
Secretary Law Raja Naeem Akbar said he had visited the Federal Judicial Complex to assess the administrative difficulties faced by judges of the special courts.
The court observed that the administrative arrangement relating to the staff of special courts was in violation of the principle and law laid down by the Supreme Court regarding separation of the executive and judicial branches of the state.
The court noted that two five acre plots had been allotted for construction of separate judicial complexes for the District West and East, respectively. One of the plots is vacant while on the other the IHC has been temporarily established.
Keeping in view the existing number of courts, construction of a judicial complex on the vacant plot will be sufficient to meet the requirements at this stage.
The secretary Ministry of Interior informed the court that pursuant to directions given by the prime minister, the federal government had given top priority to the establishment of the judicial complex at the vacant plot so that the district courts could be shifted there from F-8.
He said the project would be completed in the shortest possible time, addi9ng a committee will be constituted having representatives from all concerned departments so that the construction of the judicial complex was not delayed.
Justice Minallah observed that the appallingly deplorable conditions at the district courts speak volumes about the apathy and convoluted priorities of the executive branch of the state for the last four decades.
The district courts are the most important tier of the judicial branch.
“The actual stakeholders of the judicial branch are people, litigants and victims of state failures. The role of the bench and the bar is to serve them. It is a constitutional obligation of the executive branch of the State to ensure that the actual stakeholders are able to exercise the right to meaningful access to the courts. This right has been denied to the people and litigants in disregard to the constitutional mandate under Article 37 of the Constitution,” the court order said.
Further hearing in the case was adjourned till March 30.
Woman lawyer granted bail
A division bench of the IHC on Monday granted post-arrest bail to Nazia Bibi Advocate detained for storming the Chief Justice Block on Feb 8.
A division bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, granted her the bail against Rs50000 surety bonds.
Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, the counsel for the lawyer, argued that the detained lawyer had a suckling baby. The counsel said she was behind bars after the incident and the infant was severely feeling her absence.
The state counsel did not oppose the bail. He, however, opposed the grant of bail to Naveed Hayat Malik Advocate.
Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2021