‘Impromptu’ justice: Still a long way to go to end pending cases

Lawyers held responsible, increase in number of judges suggested.

Rana Yasif September 04, 2011

LAHORE: More than 0.14 million cases were pending in civil and judicial courts in August 2011, a slight improvement compared to previous months in the year. As many as 1,326 cases were disposed of in July bringing the number of pending cases down to 144,799.

While most litigants complained about lawyers’ absence from courts and their lack of interest in case proceedings, lawyers suggested that the number of judges should increase for efficient disposal of cases.

According to an official report available with The Express Tribune, pendency in civil cases stood at 84,048 compared to the previous month’s 82,370 and of criminal cases at 60,751 down from 63,755.

There are 89 civil judges and 44 judicial magistrates in the city courts.

Several judicial magistrates The Tribune talked to held the lawyers responsible for it. They said the lawyers used all kinds of tactics to avoid appearing before the courts. They said the situation would not improve while the lawyers continued in this practice. They said that the judges had no role in delaying the cases.

Some litigants told The Tribune that some lawyers deliberately delayed the cases. They said that the judges should constitute a policy to keep an eye on lawyers who avoided court appearances and take action against them.

Lawyers, however, said that disposal of cases was slow due to an insufficient number of judges to hear them. They suggested that the number of judges be increased to meet the challenge of pending cases. The number of cases filed was increasing, they said.

“How can you expect a judge, scheduled to hear more than 80 cases a day, to actually do that?” a lawyer asked.

Chaudhry Muhammad Arif, the sessions court superintendent, said, “The population is increasing and so is prosecution for crime.”

He said he was optimistic about the situation and hoped that the number of pending cases will decrease in a few months. He suggested that lawyers’ presence in courts should ensure their attendance.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th,  2011.