PHC directs sessions judges to follow judicial policy

Published September 18, 2021
A file photo of the Peshawar High Court. — PPI/File
A file photo of the Peshawar High Court. — PPI/File

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has directed all district and sessions judges to strictly follow the National Judicial Policy, 2009, especially for the speedy disposal of bail petitions.

A bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali observed that in case of non-cooperation by any stakeholder of the justice system, the sessions judges should report it to the high court’s chief justice through the registrar.

It issued the directives during the hearing into a petition of Mian Mohammad Shah against the delay in decision on a pre-arrest bail application of the accused in the case, Naeem Jan, by a subordinate court and had also requested the high court to direct the subordinate criminal courts in the province to decide bail pleas within the period specified by the NJP 2009.

Orders speedy disposal of bail pleas

The bench disposed of the petition observing that the sessions judges have the duty to strictly follow the judicial policy.

It also directed the high court’s additional registrar (judicial) to send copies of the order to all sessions judges in the province for compliance.

Syed Azizuddin Kakakhel, lawyer for the petitioner, said a important feature of the NJP 2009 was the mechanism for expeditious disposal of criminal cases and the time frames for the disposal of cases.

He said under the policy, bail matters under Section 497 of the Code of Criminal Procedure should be decided not beyond a period of three days by the magistrate, five days by the court of sessions and seven days by the high court.

The lawyer said the petitioner had lodged an FIR at the Nowshera Cantonment Police Station on Dec 24, 2020, under Section 489-F (dishonoring of cheque) of Pakistan Penal Code against accused Naseem Jan.

He added that the accused got an interim pre-arrest bail from a subordinate court on Dec 26, 2020, and from then on, the matter lingered on without final decision by the court.

During the pendency of the petition, the accused withdrew his pre-arrest bail application, so the petitioner didn’t press for the early disposal of that application and rather requested the court to issue directives for the NJP implementation.

The bench observed that the NJP 2009 also provided specific time period, mechanism and guidelines for decision on civil matters as well, so it should be strictly followed by all courts.

“The delay in disposal of criminal cases, particularly, in bail matters is mostly observed by this court due to non-cooperation of relevant stakeholders of justice sector,” it observed.

The court added that at numerous occasions the courts had tried its level best to realise strict compliance of the NJP to the justice sector stakeholders for fulfilling their legal obligations towards expeditious disposal of bail applications, but sometime of no fruitful result.

“In case of lawyers, the bar council being the regulatory authority of legal fraternity may make adherence towards showing their interest in the early disposal of bail applications,” it ruled.

The bench added that when the matter of bail before arrest was unnecessarily delayed by the accused or by the complainant, the relevant court should submit report about the reason of the delay to the high court’s chief justice through the additional registrar (judicial) and should also produce the details of order sheets.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2021

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