ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed serious concern over non-implementation of reports from the Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan (LJCP) by the federal and provincial governments which were obligated to update the law with the passage of time.
During hearing of a suo motu case by a three-judge bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, the LJCP submitted a report, informing the bench that its 62 law reform reports had been implemented but 74 still remained.
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The LJCP is a federal institution established in 1979 which recommends suitable reforms to the federal and provincial governments, including amendments to the laws with the passage of time. Currently, the apex court is hearing the suo motu case over the non-implementation of the LJCP reports.
In compliance with the SC’s order on February 8, the LJCP has submitted a report, saying that 62 law reform reports have been implemented but 74 have yet to be implemented.
The bench expressed serious concern over the non-implementation of the LJCP reports and asked the federal and provincial governments to submit progress report within one month.
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The LJCP informed the bench that the federal government had not implemented 76 law reforms reports. It added the law ministry had already implemented the LJCP’s recommendations but the remaining reports had been submitted to stakeholders concerned with implementation.
In Punjab, 65 LJCP’s reports had not been implemented. But the province had notified a committee on December 14, 2016 to review the recommendations. Later the committee observed that out of 78 reports, 26 were related to the federation and two to Sindh.
It said that 18 reports were related to the criminal laws and Qanoon-e-Shahadat and the feedback was shared with ministries of law and interior for further action. It added that 10 reports were already implemented in Punjab.
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Due to the pendency of matter in the SC, the LJCP’s report about the Evacuee Trust Property Act cannot be implemented, while 23 reports were under consideration at different levels.
The LJCP said that the Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan governments had yet to update it regarding implementation of its reports.
About the parole and probation laws, the LJCP’s report said that a meeting of provincial home secretaries was convened on March 15, which was not attended by Balochistan. It was noted in the meeting that the institution of probation and reclamation was practically dysfunctional in supervising and rehabilitating the probationers and parolees.
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The meeting resolved that due to limited human resource and a lack of logistics, probation officers were unable to supervise offenders, help them become a law-abiding citizen and minimise the risk of their reoffending.
The LJCP said extra human and financial resources may be allocated at district level for effectively supervising and implementing rehabilitation interventions. It was also submitted that the probation and police officers should be bound to visit jails on a monthly basis, particularly during visits of session judges and high court judges for conducting inquiries.
It said the high courts may be asked to issue directions to all criminal courts to give reasons for not giving the benefit of probation to convicts, who are otherwise eligible for release on probation.
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The LJCP had, in an earlier report, said that from 2013 to August 2016 trial courts had placed 80,116 offenders on probation in Punjab, 2,060 in Sindh, 4,278 in K-P and 194 in Balochistan. According to the report, the Punjab government had released 527 convicts on parole since 2013, K-P 18, Sindh 7 and Balochistan 41.
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