Modernising trial process?

ACCORDING to Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) Chairman Dr Umar Saif the Case Flow Management System for the Lahore High Court (LHC) will go live in 4-6 weeks, which will help streamline and expedite cases benefiting the system and the litigants. Speaking at 150th anniversary conference of LHC, he highlighted the IT initiatives ventured with and for LHC and the work to automate operations of the Punjab judiciary.
It is obvious that objective of the Case Flow Management System is to facilitate the lawyers, judges, staff and litigants to have updates about all cases. However, from what he explained, it appears the litigants would get nothing more than an SMS alert about the case. This would surely be a step in the right direction but this too can become relevant and meaningful only if there is attitudinal change in the judicial system where expeditious disposal of case is the least priority with judges and most of them, in collusion with lawyers’ mafia, prolong cases to years and decades. LHC is celebrating 150th anniversary and this is very long time to set healthy traditions and streamline things but regrettably the judicial system has yet to deliver as per expectations of the people. We have been hearing after regular intervals about judicial reforms but none of them has so far solved the core issues of speedy and inexpensive dispensation of justice. It is because of roadblock in the way of administration of justice that attempts have been made to address the problem through speedy trial and military courts but these too have limitations and opposition from different circles. While appreciating the initiative of Case Flow Management System, we hope that judges would use it to monitor the processing and trial of cases and ensure that timelines are strictly observed. It should not become another mockery like the project for computerisation of arms licenses where applicants are not getting any response even after passage of one or two years due to inaction by officials concerned.

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