ISLAMABAD: The judiciary on Saturday turned down a request from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for appointing judicial officers as delimitation authorities to hear and decide on objections against delimitation of union councils and wards in Punjab and Sindh.
A meeting of the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) was held under the Chairmanship of Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk on Saturday. The meeting was attended by Chief Justice Federal Shariat Court Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan, Chief Justice Islamabad High Court Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi, Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel, Chief Justice High Court of Balochistan Justice Muhammad Noor Meskanzai, Chief Justice High Court of Sindh Justice Faisal Arab, Chief Justice Lahore High Court Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik and Secretary Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP) Mohammed Sarwar Khan.
Under the Delimitation of Constituencies Rules 2015, the outlined functions of delimitation authorities are such that they can be assigned to and performed by executive officers.
The committee, however, observed that the district judiciary was already busy with a large backlog of cases, therefore, any additional responsibility of delimitation would hamper the administration of justice. Hence the body turned down the ECP’s request.
Appointment of judicial officers
The committee reviewed the process of appointment of judicial officers. It observed that in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh, hundreds of posts were lying vacant.
After deliberations, the NJPMC chairman asked the chief justices of the respective High Courts to fill all vacant posts.
Performance reviews of subordinate judiciary
It also reviewed the performance of the subordinate judiciary service tribunals. The secretary LJCP presented the status of appeals pending instituted and disposed of by the tribunals.
After deliberations, the committee resolved that the tribunals may meet once a week to hear the service appeals of the members of district judiciary.
The CJP further asked the chief justices of high courts to monitor the performance of respective tribunals to ensure that at least half of the pending appeals should be cleared within a period of six months.
The NJPMC also considered a proposal for reviving and reconstituting the provincial justice committees.
The Secretary LJCP briefed the meeting about the composition and mandate of the proposed provincial justice committees which includes heads of all the provincial justice organisations and secretary LJCP as secretary and member of the committees.
They were told that the proposed committees, technically supported by LJCP, would ensure effective implementation to improve the quality of justice services.
After deliberations, the committee has approved the proposal for reconstitution of provincial justice committees which would meet on a monthly basis.
The CJP observed that provincial justice committees would potentially strengthen the provincial justice coordination, policy, planning and improve the administration of justice in the country.