The country’s top court, on Saturday, stated that the unnecessary delay in court proceedings amounts to the ‘denial of justice.
These remarks were made to give a wake-up call to the prosecution department over inordinate delays in trials of capital punishment cases.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Dost Muhammad Khan stated that ”Uncondonable delay in many cases becomes a cause of frustration both for the accused, the aggrieved complainant party and in some cases, the aggrieved party ordinarily takes the law into their own hands by indulging in acts of retribution.”
”This has resulted in unrest and elements of intolerance in the society which ultimately would have negative impacts on the performance of the government as a whole,” the bench added.
Furthermore, the bench said that the investigators and prosecutors, consisting of large fleets who are being sustained and maintained at the cost of taxpayer money shall diligently perform their statutory duties, otherwise, they will be guilty of violating the mandatory statutory provision of the Criminal Procedure Code, the constitution and law relating to the prosecution branch.
“It is a universal principle of law that having a speedy trial is the right of every accused person, therefore, unnecessary delays in legal proceedings of such cases would amount to the denial of justice,” the bench held.
The court went on to say, “many years back, the government with the aim to put the criminal justice system into the correct channels, bifurcated the police force to preventive and detective, investigation and prosecution wings”.
The establishment of the same dearly cost the public exchequer because the enormous budget was allocated for this purpose by all at federal and provincial level, the bench of the top court said.
”However, such a costly exercise could not improve the system because the supervising officers of these three wings of the police are uninterested in streamlining the working of each wing, in an efficient and effective manner and to comply with the mandatory provisions of law,” the bench remarked.
“Even today charge sheets and submission of the challans before the competent courts in criminal cases are delayed for no plausible reason”, the bench held adding, “even interim challans are not submitted within the statutory period”.
“This conduct and attitude, as well as the performance of investigating, prosecution and detective agencies, are absolutely unacceptable,” the bench said.
Some of the witnesses either vanish being killed by opponents, meet a natural death or relocate, the bench remarked.
This makes it a cumbersome job for the trial court to procure their attendance, the bench stated.
This is one of the major contributing factors in the backlog crisis of criminal cases.