‘Justice hurried is justice buried’

CHIEF Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar made a very comprehensive and though provoking speech at the women judges’ conference in Lahore on Sunday in which he dilated upon the role and responsibilities of judges, showing them a clear path to follow for dispensation of justice. In his speech on improving access to justice, he raised very important points including that a hasty decision amounted to being burying or denying the justice.
Nobody can dispute the words of the Chief Justice as indeed heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of judges to deliver justice as per law and the constitution while providing the defendant or the petitioner full opportunity to plead or propound their case. Such a course undoubtedly will not provide any room to anybody to raise question marks on the judgments. But at the same time dispensation of justice should not take decades or allow cases to continue for generations after generations even delivering justice after the death of litigant. In the not distant past, we saw the apex court exonerating a murder convict after his death. These are the flaws or shortcomings that needed to be removed by the judiciary in cooperation with the executive in order to ensure timely and prompt justice. The issue of ‘justice delayed’ is being debated for decades but regrettably nothing concrete has been done on the ground to address problems and concerns of the citizens. Especially in the lower courts we are seeing a burgeoning backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases. There is genuine perception that courts are now meant just to hear high profile cases that attract media attention and make headlines while other cases are kept pending causing severe frustration to litigants. The demand for substantial increase in number of judges is akin to often repeated suggestion to increase salaries of police personnel to dissuade them from corruption whereas the fact remains that no amount of salary would be enough to dissuade corrupt elements who squeeze equal amounts from people on almost daily basis. The real issues are intentions, commitment and integrity and it is duty of leadership of the judiciary to inculcate them in their subordinates. We expect that the honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan with the help of bench and the bar will take tangible steps to greatly improve the present system to ensure prompt and inexpensive justice to the people.

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