The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the federal and provincial governments to immediately implement the laws on the release of prisoners on probation.
The court issued a five-page judgment written by Justice Athar Minullah, in which it declared that serious violations of human rights are taking place in prisons due to overcrowding.
The court noted that the majority of people suffering from lack of facilities in prisons are poor, and that the state is not doing anything to provide them with cheap and quick justice.
"In the circumstances and the context of unjustified deprivation of the right to liberty, the benefit of enjoying release on the basis of probation is of pivotal importance and thus the enforcement of
the laws relating to probation become crucial," the order read.
It stated, "It is a right of every eligible prisoner to be considered for the purposes of enjoying liberty on the basis of probation."
Justice Minallah said, "The neglect of the executive authorities to perform their obligations and duties imposed by law and to give effect to the enforced laws, particularly relating to the inmates of prisons amounts to a breach of the duty of care that is owed to the incarcerated prisoner."
The court order further went to add, "This breach of a fiduciary duty could expose the concerned authorities and the State to be sued by the inmates of the overcrowded prisons for damages."
The bench declared that such a condition of prisons is intolerable in a society governed by the constitution and that it is the responsibility of the state to protect the fundamental rights of every prisoner.
Prisoners enjoy all constitutional rights except freedom of movement, the court said.
Improving dispensation of justice
In a related development, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Qazi Faez Isa is to convene a meeting scheduled for 3pm tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss measures aimed at improving the administration of justice.
Sources indicate that the CJP has extended invitations to members of the Pakistan Bar and Supreme Court Bar associations to participate in the huddle.
The meeting is expected to serve as a platform for seeking the perspectives of legal organizations on various matters, including the establishment of benches, case scheduling, and the expedited hearing of urgent cases.