Bench strength

Islamabad is suffering a judicial crisis due to the lack of judges; 6,157 cases are pending in the High Court.

Obaid Rehman December 09, 2012
For litigants in the capital, the absence of a couple of judges has been deeply unsettling. The crisis at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has left several plaintiffs in trouble. As such, the crisis is only a couple of months old, because the court has functioned smoothly since its establishment in 2010.

On November 20, 2012, the terms of both Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui expired. However, President Asif Ali Zardari did not confirm two additional judges for the court.

So there are currently only three judges serving the Islamabad High Court, including Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman, Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi and Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan.

According to the IHC Act 2010, seven judges are supposed to perform their duties and three are enough to meet the pendency. Similarly, the chief justice was also elevated in the Supreme Court. Whether Justice Anwar Khan Kasi is the new chief justice or Riaz Ahmed Khan, is also an issue that has yet to be resolved. This controversy has opened a new Pandora’s Box.

President Asif Ali Zardari has filed a reference before the apex court and subsequently, the Supreme Court constituted a five-member bench that will hear this reference on December 10, 2012.

Through this judicial crisis, ultimately the litigants are suffering because three judges are not enough to meet the huge numbers of cases. That was the main reason for establishing a separate court in the federal capital. The capital has a fairly large population and many cases are pending before the court.

Some 6,157 cases from different ministries are pending in IHC.

This issue should be resolved as soon as possible in the larger interest of the public. If resolved soon, the court can focus on its primary duty of dispensing justice. If delayed, the number of headaches created will only benefit those who obstruct the path of justice.

Finally, the question that comes to everyone’s mind is: who is the beneficiary of this crisis?

Read more by Obaid here.
Obaid Rehman A correspondent at the Islamabad desk at The Express Tribune.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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