CJP Iftikhar regrets govt inaction on funds for judiciary
17 March, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Lamenting the ever-increasing load of litigation, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has regretted that despite lapse of considerable time and repeated references, the government has not responded regarding the allocation of funds for strengthening the district judiciary in terms of human resource and infrastructure.
While holding a meeting of the governing body of Access to Justice Development Fund on Saturday, the chief justice said, "In order to deal with the ever-increasing litigation, we need more judges and staff for district judiciary.
In this regard, the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan and National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee has forwarded demands of high courts to the federal government and prime minister for allocation of funds for strengthening of the district judiciary in terms of human resource and infrastructure.
Unfortunately, despite lapse of considerable time and repeated references, the government did not respond and failed to fulfil its constitutional obligation to ensure inexpensive and speedy justice for all."
The chief justice also observed that after the restoration of November 3 judiciary, the people's confidence in judiciary has been increased for restoration of their rights and rule of law in the country.
However, an under-resourced judiciary cannot discharge its functions satisfactorily. The meeting was attended by Balochistan High Court Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa, Sindh High Court Chief Justice Justice Mushir Alam, Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi and secretaries of the Finance Division and Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan.
Besides approving accounts of the AJDF for the financial year 2011-12, the governing body also considered the issue of allocation of funds to different windows of the Fund. It approved disbursement of Rs 246.078 million to the provincial high courts as per NFC award to meet the needs of subordinate courts regarding automation, court infrastructure development and provision of court related conveniences and amenities to the litigants and performance based initiatives for the subordinate judiciary.
The governing body of the AJDF also consented to release Rs 71.96 million to provincial high courts for strengthening the court infrastructure in the designated underdeveloped regions. It also approved the proposal of releasing funds to 78 newly constituted District Legal Empowerment Committees across the country. The governing body stressed upon the district judiciary to finalise the formalities at the earliest to make these committees functional so that the ratio of their constitution should be realised by providing free legal aid to the deserving litigants who do not possess sufficient means to pursue their genuine cause of grievances before the court of law.
The governing body considered the project proposals of legal empowerment for funding. Meanwhile, the chief justice of Pakistan stressed upon the chief justices of the high courts to ensure that the allocated funds are utilised for strengthening the capacity of district judiciary in terms of infrastructure and establishment of information kiosks to facilitate the litigants.
The chief justice has observed that the legitimacy of any government depends on the fair and impartial administration of laws, while the courts being arbiter are entrusted with the sacred task to uphold rule of law by evaluating the actions of executives on the touchstone of the constitution. "Establishment of Access to Justice Development Fund is an important step to support reforms in law and justice sector. Comparatively, it is a new and innovative concept in which financial resources for strengthening the judicial system are placed at the disposal of the judiciary. The principal amount is meant for investment to generate income to meet the purposes of the AJDF on a sustainable basis."