Discouraging frivolous petitioners

THE Federal Cabinet on Monday approved the Costs of Litigation Act 2017 that will ensure dispensation of inexpensive justice to the litigants. The Act that will come into force from next month will allow winning party to claim the cost of litigation from unsuccessful petitioners. In other words, a petitioner would not only pay his own lawyer but also bear the cost of litigation of respondents for filing frivolous petition.
The tendency of filing false and vexatious cases and taking baseless grounds for defence is unfortunately on the increase. This tendency leads to numerous problems including heavy expenditure incurred by affected parties causing them financial loss and mental torture, apart from wasting precious time of the courts. It was, therefore, necessary to empower courts to impose costs to discourage false and frivolous litigation and unnecessary adjournments. In fact such laws awarding cost of litigation to unsuccessful parties also exist in other countries and it is expected that the proposed law will provide relief to genuine litigants. The Act will indeed discourage people from going into unnecessary litigation and also reduce burden of cases on the courts. It is a matter of satisfaction that lately both the judiciary and federal, provincial governments appear to be in active mode and taking some practical steps to realise the long cherished dream of providing inexpensive and speedy justice to the people. Together with the right kind of intervention through legislation and reforms including ensuring availability of adequate number of judges in courts the objective of addressing perennial twin problems of backlog and delays can be addressed effectively. Whilst moving forward, it is important that both judiciary and executive do not intervene or interfere in each other’s domain as such a situation creates troubles instead of doing anything good to the justice system. Incumbent Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has repeatedly asked Parliament to frame laws that outdo the centuries old British laws that are no longer applicable. We expect that his voice will be given ears to and the legislators will focus on their job to bring laws that are in line with contemporary requirements. Since poor and weak cannot afford legal battles, we will also suggest govts in the Centre and the Province to establish special funds for their assistance.

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