‘The scarcity of judges and buildings of court is the main hindrance in providing speedy justice in the country. The ratio of judges is very less and for 300,000 people there is one judge in Pakistan while in developed countries it is one judge for 10,000 people. After a laps of more than 55 years after independence in 2005 new court buildings and homes for judges were constructed in the country with the help of loans, provided by the Asian Development Bank’. This was stated by former Chief Justice of Sindh High Court Justice (Rtd) Sarmad Jalal Usmani yesterday while he was addressing the meeting of Shura Hamdard Karachi chapter, presided over by Justice (Rtd) Haziqul Khairi on the theme: “Providing cheap and speedy justice in Pakistan” at a local hall.
He further said that a judge has been overburdened with more than twenty thousand cases whereas he could decide only 9 or 10 cases per day. Salaries and privileges were small and they could not work with ease. It was the philosophy of British government that it gave handsome salaries to public servants so that they should not incline to take bribe and judiciary was also a public service agency, he added.
‘Judges of lower courts use to sit in very small rooms with frequent power break down and in such environment how one can expect speedy decisions from judges, he said, adding that by improving working condition and increasing number of judges we could expect speedy justice.
‘Without reading courts verdicts, some people, especially some journalists begin to make comments which creates confusion among the people, he lamented.
Justice (Rtd) Haziqul Khairi said there were other elements also such as lawyers, medical practioners, who issued medical certificates, and police that caused the delay in justice and the judge had no source to check the medical certificates. Suo moto is taken in the interest of public, then why Supreme Court didn’t take suo moto on the worst condition of water and electricity in Karachi yet, while people were crying here for water and electricity, he maintained.
Commodore (Rtd) Sadeed Anwar Malik was of the view that judge was getting enough salaries and benefits. There was no system of check and balance in judiciary to check the wrong doings of lower courts judges while army had, he added.
Justice (Rtd) Zia Pervez, former judge of Sindh High Court said there was system of check and balance in judiciary and a judge is bound to complete a specific target, given to him / her and to submit a return statement to the higher courts.
Prof. Dr. Akhlaque Ahmed said delay in justice was a big issue and the reason was that there were different laws for the poor and the rich in the country. If judges were over burden, the government must do something to give them relief and make law equal to the poor and the rich, he added.
Prof. Dr. Tanveer Khalid said that a common man didn’t understand the language of law and it was pity that the justice could be obtained only through suo moto in the country.
Prof. Kafil Ahmed said when there was no merit, no regard of social values and no mass education how we could expect justice in such a society. Doctrine of necessity was a sort of corruption and one could not get any work done in lower courts without bribe, he added.
Ms. Shamim Kazmi was of the opinion that time frame should be set for the settlement of law suits and separate courts be made for petty cases. Dr. Abubakar Sheikh said if a doctor issued wrong certificates then courts should take actions against them. No department was functioning in proper way and instead of denying this fact we should take measures to correct it.
Zafar Iqbal, President, Small and Medium Enterprises Association suggested that small cause’s courts should be made to facilitate people to get speedy justice on small cases. The government should provide free legal aid to the poor who cannot afford court expenses, he asserted. Ms. Huma Baig and Khursheed Hashmi also spoke. Mrs. Sadia Rashid, President, Hamdard Foundation Pakistan was also present at the meeting.