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This is apropos the first part of a series of articles titled "Need for all-out reforms - I" carried by the newspaper yesterday. The writers, Huzaima Bukhari and Dr Ikramul Haq, have argued, among other things, that "The right of access to justice is an inviolable fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution. This right must be understood in wider terms to include speedy dispensation, the right to be treated according to law, the right to have a fair and proper trial and the right to have an impartial court/tribunal. Justice therefore can only be done if there is an efficient system to settle the rights and obligations of litigants within reasonable time. Judiciary should not only be independent but also competent and efficient."
That the right of access to justice is an inviolable right is a fact. In this regard, I wish to highlight the fact that Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed has chaired a meeting of National Judicial Policymaking Committee where it has been decided against shutting down countrywide courts. Taking such a courageous decision amid rising spread of deadly coronavirus adds to the esteem of higher judiciary which, according to the Chief Justice, "will never shatter the hopes of masses who look towards the judiciary for dispensing justice." Moreover, it needs to be remembered that when the Germans were bombing London during the World War II, prime minister Winston Churchill asked his team: "Are the courts functioning?"

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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