National Judicial Policy 2009
There has occurred a gradual deterioration in the law and order situation and parts of the country are experiencing militancy and violence, causing the displacement of hundreds of thousands of innocent people – men, omen, children and elderly. These are difficult times. We face existential threats. But I do not think that the difficulties are insurmountable. We are a tenacious nation, have demonstrated, more than once, our strength and ability to face challenges. The lawyers’ movement for restoration of independent-minded Judges and supremacy of law/Constitution is a case in point.
The movement for a grand cause was thronged by enthusiastic groups including civil society organisations, professional groups, political parties and students, etc. In the evening of 1 5 March 2009, the movement transformed itself into a mint-revolution. It demonstrated the agility and determination of the masses to stand by the Constitution and dispensation of power under this supreme law. It emboldened me to say today, that together we could face challenges and convert them into opportunities.
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I have full faith in the ability of the people to rise to the occasion and chalk out a future course of action, based on democratic values and constitutional principles. The restoration of 3 November (2007) Judiciary has ushered in a new era: an era of hope that political dispensation in the country and 1 governance shall be in accordance with the constitutional principles. The people of Pakistan have reposed great confidence in the ability of the Judiciary to redress their grievances and grant them relief.
They have very high expectations of the courts to settle their disputes, restore their rights/entitlements and maintain peace in society by sending the guilty behind bars. I thank the people for believing on us! We must strive to meet their expectations. This is time to repay our debt to the nation. We could do so by addressing the perennial twin-problems of “backlog” and “delays” in the system of administration of Justice. To achieve the objective, we need to formulate new Judicial policy. I had asked the Secretariat of the NJPMC to prepare a framework of action for clearing the backlog and expeditious disposal of cases.
The draft is before you. Let us examine it and evolve a strategy for the purpose. I want the active participation of all stakeholders of the Justice sector, essentially the members of the bench and the bar and also related agencies viz police/prison department and prosecution branch. The Policy that we ultimately approve would be one that has broad ownership. That is why extensive consultations have been carried out to get the viewpoint of Judges, lawyers, litigants and others. The Policy seeks to achieve its objectives, by efficient utilisation of existing resources.
We have to operate by remaining within the given legal/procedural framework. The laws are indeed time- tested. Given earnest effort by the bench and the bar, I am confident of achieving positive results. However, keeping in view the gigantic effort new resources would be needed. We would be very economical in the utilization of the needed resources. I am confident that the Government will provide the requisite funds, as our effort is to strengthen the administration and improve governance. It is necessary for peace and ecurity, thereby spurring trade/commercial activities and foreign/local investment in the economy.
This is how, the industrialised countries progressed. This is 2 how, we can move forward. We could achieve the results by establishing a society based on the supremacy of Constitution and rule of law. Our aim is to provide Justice for All. I thank the members of NJPMC for endorsing my proposal to celebrate 2009, as the year for Justice at the Grassroot Level. The key features of the National Judicial Policy are strengthening the independence of the Judiciary by its separation from the xecutive and ridding the courts of the menace of corruption, thereby presenting a clean and positive image of Judiciary.
In the Policy, we have set high goals for ourselves. The goals are to initially reduce, and ultimately eliminate, backlog at the level of superior as well as subordinate courts, and further, to fix time frame for disposal of civil and criminal cases. The criminal cases will get priority on account of the sub-human conditions in which under-trial prisoners are kept in Jails. Writs for protection of fundamental rights i. e. right to life, liberty, equality, property and reedom of thought, conscience, association, etc will also be maintained on fast track.