ISLAMABAD: Senators on Monday expressed alarm over the huge volume of cases pending in superior courts.
Speaking on a motion seeking discussion on reasons behind an enormous number of cases pending with different courts and policy steps being taken by the government to ensure early and speedy disposal of these cases, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad of the Jamaat said that as per the Supreme Court’s own survey, there were a total of 2.1 million cases pending in courts.
He said that 51,138 cases had been pending in the top court alone.
He said that while Pakistani judges’ perks and privileges were among the 10 highest in the world, the country stood at 124th number in terms of the provision of justice.
“A retired judge is paid six to seven lakh rupees in pension, besides other benefits and protocols, but where is justice? With the key of gold the door of judiciary is opened. And if there is a process of self-accountability of judges, then why 21 million cases are pending. Judges say no one is a sacred cow; it has to be seen, then are not you sacred cows?” the Jamaat Senator questioned.
House told judges get heavy pension, but they fail to deliver justice
He wondered why justice was not being dispensed with while judges were stressing the need for building dams and doing so many other things. “Which mafia they have punished so far, be it sugar mafia, petrol mafia or Panama cases?”
He called for immediately filling of 1048 vacant posts of judges and a 50 per cent cut in salaries of senior judges so that the amount saved could be paid to the new judges. He proposed proper training of judges and starting the second shift in courts to expedite the disposal of pending cases.
Senator Rukhsana Zuberi of PPP called for increasing working hours of judges.
Senator Azam Tarar proposed setting up of a constitutional court to lessen burden on the superior judiciary and said that there must be capacity building of judges.
He said the Senate should introduce judicial reforms and amendments to laws.
Senator Ali Zafar of PTI called for doing a way with conflicting provisions of laws: there must be a parallel system of arbitration and reconciliation and a federal court be set up to deal with constitutional matters and provincial issues.
The Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammd Khan, said the government would announce judicial reforms next year.
The government wanted transparency in justice, he said, adding the basic decision taken by the government was that all civil cases be settled within three years. He said the law of evidence was being amended and now evidence through video would be made possible.
Speaking on a point of order, leader of the Opposition in the House Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said the opposition had positively responded to the invitation of National Assembly speaker for talks over electoral reforms.
Senator Kamil Ali Agha of PML-Q protested over his exclusion from the parliamentary panel on appointment of ECP members.
Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2021