ISLAMABAD: The Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan on Saturday recommended changes to remove flaws in the justice system of the country and enhancement of family protection laws.
The commission, meeting with the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in chair, considered a proposal for protection of Christian spouses from the agony of pursuing their family disputes before the overburdened civil courts under the Divorce Act 1869 and recommended an amendment in the Family Court Act 1964 enabling the Family Court to try their family cases under the relevant law.
The commission took serious note of the practice of giving away women and young girls in marriage as ‘Badal-i-Sulha’, usually following the decision of a ‘jirga’ or ‘punchait’. It recommended that whoever gives, abets, instigates, demands, or receives a female in marriage as a Badal-i-Sulha, will be fined and punished for a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 14 years.
To ensure proper maintenance and welfare of minors whose custody was given to guardians under the Guardian and Ward Act, the commission recommended that rules may be amended to compel the guardian to produce the ward (male or female) before the court on a quarterly basis to make them aware about the conditions they are being brought up under.
Besides lawyers and senior officials of the law ministry, the meeting was attended by chief justices of the federal Shariat court, high courts‚ Secretary Law Yasmin Abbasi and Attorney General Irfan Qadir.
The chief justice also stated that the existing procedural laws were obsolete and unable to keep pace with emerging reforms. The commission decided that federal and provincial governments should allocate additional grants in the forthcoming budget to increase strength of judges, allied staff and related infrastructure to cope with increasing litigation.
The commission also considered the deteriorating standard of investigation in criminal cases was conducted in a casual manner or legal flaws were deliberately left to accommodate criminals. The commission recommended that a penal section may be inserted in the Pakistan Penal Code to punish delinquent Investigating Officers who fail to carry out investigations in accordance with the law.
The commission observed that it is the obligation of the State to ensure inexpensive and expeditious justice under article 37(d) of the Constitution. Realising the sensitivity of problems faced by ordinary litigants due to delay in dispensation of justice, the commission recommended that the number of judges of the district judiciary be immediately increased and Service Tribunals should be given powers to execute its orders.
The commission also proposed amendments in the Vaccination Law to enhance its scope and repeal obsolete provisions. The commission recommended amendment in section 89(A) Code of Civil Procedure 1908 to provide for resolution of disputes through Alternate Disputes Resolution methods. The Commission approved accounts and expenditure of Access to Justice Development Fund.
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