ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has summoned a meeting of National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (NJPMC) on April 29 to consider suggestions given by the representatives of bar and legal fraternity regarding exercise of jurisdiction under section 22A (6), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and establishment and functioning of the model courts.
Pakistan Bar Council vice chairman Amjad Shah, however, expressed doubts saying it seemed the decision had been taken to foil PBC’s demonstration in front of Supreme Court on April 25 and to ensure that no lawyer appeared before the apex court on that day to make the strike successful. He said that no decision had been taken regarding the postponement of protest.
Shah rejected the impression that lawyers were biggest hurdle in the CJP’s judicial reforms. He stated that it was only the job of parliament to make laws to improve the justice system in the country.
He said that lawyers were not against the steps taken by the CJP and added that representatives of bars were using the situation for their ulterior motives.
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PBC vice chairman maintained that instead of bringing changes in the justice system, lawyers wanted the number of judges in the country to be increased.
However, PBC executive member Raheel Kamran Sheikh questioned why the vice chairman was not calling a meeting of the body before taking any decision on the issue.
There are two main groups of lawyers in superior bars – the independent lawyer's group, also called Asma Jahangir group and the professional lawyers group, also called Hamid Khan group.
Hamid Khan group was the main beneficiary during the tenure of former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry as numbers of lawyers belonging to it were inducted in the superior judiciary.
Asma Jahangir group got major benefits in post-Chaudhry era as several of its lawyers were appointed superior court judges during the tenure of former chief justice Saqib Nisar.
However, unlike in the past, both sections of lawyers are opposing the incumbent CJ Asif Saeed Khosa’s initiative to bring judicial reforms especially the decision with regard to sections 22A and 22B of CrPC.
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A senior lawyer said that both the groups specially Asma Jahangir group wanted the appointment of its members to the superior judiciary and was mounting pressure on the CJP.
However, he observed that there was failure on the part of judiciary as it did not take the lawyers on board before taking initiatives to introduce judicial reforms in the country and added that the incumbent CJ should have consulted representatives of bars before taking any such step.
“Ninety five (95) per cent lawyers in lower courts are doing practice by filing applications under section 22A CrPC as they are not regular trial lawyers; therefore, they fear that such decision may affect their practice,” he noted.
From January 1, 2017 to February 28, 2019, a total of 614,307 cases were filed under section 22A/22B CrPC in the district judiciary throughout the country, while during the same period, 47,029 cases under the said provisions were filed in high courts.
CJ Khosa believed that currently sessions and additional sessions courts under CrPC, 1898 were burdened with cases regarding giving directions to the police authorities for registration of cases.
He said that such jurisdiction was tantamount to involvement of judiciary in executive functions and was against the principle of separation of powers.
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