ISLAMABAD: Chief Jus­tice Qazi Faez Isa will meet representatives of the Pakistan Bar Cou­n­cil and the Supreme Court Bar Association on Wednesday (today) to deliberate on how to clear the bac­klog of thousands of cases pending in the top court.

PBC Vice Chairman Haroon Rashid confirmed that CJP Isa, who assumed office on Sunday, is convening a meeting on Wednesday (today) to deliberate upon issues related to the administration of justice.

According to the sources, the agenda of the meeting includes a discussion on the formation of benches, pending cases, speedy administration of justice, and fixation and hearing of cases. Besides, the proposals for early hearing of cases that are urgent in nature have also been sought. At present about 57,000 cases are pending before the Supreme Court.

Previously, the Law and Justice Commission of Pa­k­istan regularly upda­ted the statistics of the pending cases. However, during the tenure of former CJP Umar Ata Bandial, who was also the chairman of the Law and Justice Commission, the statistics regarding the backlog of the judiciary were removed from the website.

The judiciary is criticised for a huge backlog of cases the number of which has surpassed two million in superior and lower courts.

PBC Vice Chairman Rashid said that the apex court can clear the backlog by constituting more benches. He pointed out that at present there are two or three regular benches to hear the cases.

“Sometimes, four and very occasionally, five benches had been formed,” he said, adding that with the existing strength, the CJP could form six regular benches to hear the cases which would reduce the backlog. He further said that the Supreme Court in the past wasted much-needed time on political cases.

“The political cases could be disposed of in a couple of hearings as the apex court has to interpret the question of law,” he said, adding that the Supreme Court took months to decide even simple matters. He hoped Justice Isa would streamline the affairs of the apex court for expeditious disposal of the cases.

Separately, the Pakistan Bar Council also condemned the registration of a case against advocate Akhtar Hussain.

According to a statement issued by the PBC, Mr Hussain has been charged with protesting against state institutions. The statement said that the senior lawyer participated in a peaceful protest, which was organised against massive inflation. “The registration of FIR against him is illegal and unlawful…” the statement added.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2023

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