ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa and senior puisne judge Sardar Tariq Masood on Wednesday discussed with the members of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) mechanism to reduce pendency in the Supreme Court.
The judiciary is criticised for a huge backlog of cases, the number of which has surpassed two million in superior and lower courts. At present, more than 56,000 cases are pending before the Supreme Court, and this week another 157 were added.
The chief justice and the senior puisne judge had invited the members of the PBC and the SCBA for their suggestions with regard to the disposal of cases. The agenda of the meeting included a discussion on the formation of benches, pending cases, speedy administration of justice, and fixation and hearing of cases. Besides, the proposals for early hearing of cases that are urgent in nature have also been sought.
This is the first time a CJP has invited representatives of the superior bars for a discussion with regard to disposal of cases.
After the meeting, PBC Vice-Chairman Haroon Rasheed and Executive Committee of the Council Chairman Hassan Raza Pasha, while talking to media persons, said they have given suggestions to the chief justice, particularly for fixation of urgent cases, adding the proposals were submitted in written.
Pasha said that the chief justice has constituted a committee, which will comprise Supreme Court judges, and PBC and SCBA members. Soon a new mechanism for fixing cases and the constitution of benches will be introduced.
He said the SCBA and the PBC gave their suggestions separately, and the chief justice agreed with most of them. The meeting of the chief justice and the senior puisne judge with the Bar members is the message that the Supreme Court is serious in the speedy disposal of cases.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawyer Barrister Zafarullah Khan approached the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking appropriate directions on the exercise of jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan. He also sought directions from the apex court regarding the constitution of benches, hearing of pending cases for adjudication by the apex court, and the appointment of judges and staff in the superior courts.
He submitted that Article 184 (3) of the Constitution gives original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court. “It means that without prejudice to the provisions of Article 199, the Supreme Court shall, if it considers that a question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the Fundamental Rights conferred by Chapter 1 of Part II is involved, has the power to make an order of the nature mentioned in the said Article.”
He stated that the jurisdiction of the august court has been exercised without any fully developed criterion and it has caused a lot of criticism by the scholars, research institutions and Bars within and outside Pakistan. The unwanted exercise under this extraordinary power has resulted in very serious economic and political implications.
Barrister Zafarullah submitted that the exercise of this extraordinary jurisdiction needs utmost care as there is no appeal available despite the admitted fact that all humans are fallible. It shall result in extraordinary responsibility and humility.
“Comprehensive and objective guidelines and criteria may be laid down by the full Court as where and when this extraordinary power can be used and cannot be used.”
Objective tests shall be laid down to determine the scope of ‘public importance’ and ‘enforcement of fundamental rights’.“
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023