All state institutions must work to make sure the citizens of Pakistan get quick and inexpensive justice, said Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
From the police to the health department, everyone will need to play their part, he told participants of the National Judicial Conference in Islamabad on Saturday.
The chief justice also announced that people will now obtain succession certificates from NADRA instead of the court. Succession certificates are obtained by the legal heirs of a deceased person in order to inherit their property. They will need a Family Registration Certificate (FRC) to get the succession certificate. “The court will only be involved in case of disputes,” he said.
He also announced that court fees would be fixed in order to save time. He also said that the performance of judges will be monitored through a system earlier used by the Sindh High Court.
Justice Khosa said they have tried to impress upon the inspectors-general of police to ensure that investigations are completed within the given time frame and that challans are presented before the courts on time.
“The state must take responsibility for the cases and for this we have called upon all state agencies to cooperate in producing private as well as state witnesses,” said Justice Khosa.
He said that the police have to make sure that witnesses, even those abroad, are produced before courts. This includes making sure that prisoners are brought to courts in working prison vans, he said. If the prison van breaks down, we’ll take action against the chief of the prison, the top judge warned. Similarly, the health department is responsible to present doctors as expert witnesses in cases relating to injuries, rape and murder. Lastly, forensic science agencies are responsible for presenting medical and forensic reports to the court.
Justice Khosa said that unfortunately, the justice system is not one of parliament’s priorities. He urged parliament to look into amendments to existing legislation to improve judicial policy.
“There are certain laws that need to be revisited, including the Anti-Terrorism Act,” he said. “We have constituted a seven-member bench to avoid cases falling under the Act. In the past, rape, murder and even robbery cases were lodged under the Act.”
Appreciating the performance of judges of model courts, he said the model trial courts will not grant adjournments in order to ensure the timely conclusion of cases.
Giving the example of Britain and the United States judiciary, the top judge said Pakistan needs to develop and then follow a strict timeline.
“After the consent of both parties, the schedule of the case will be fixed and after the trial has been scheduled a certificate will be issued to all the parties. That certificate will be then presented to the high court and the Supreme Court so that other cases on the following dates will be adjourned,” said Justice Khosa.
He also said that no case will be adjourned in order for judges to write judgments. “The day the arguments are presented in front of the court will be the day when the judgments are pronounced and written,” he said.