ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Saturday said that an independent and robust mechanism for the dispensation of justice was the only way to ensure stability and good governance of the country which could further result in economic development. He was addressing the inaugural session of two-day national conference on the implementation of National Judicial Policy-2009. Chief Justice of Pakistan who is also the Chairman of National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee stressed upon the need of speedy and inexpensive justice without any fear or favour. He said that knowledge, experience, integrity and character on the part of judges was vital for administering justice in free, fair and impartial manner. The Chief Justice said that the National Judicial Policy-2009 aimed at prompt dispensation of justice by an independent and upright judiciary by clearing the backlog of cases and attacking the inefficiency and corruption within the judiciary. However, he said, the Policy was not something cast on tablet of stone or sacrosanct, but was subject to continuous review and adjustments. He further said that an independent and robust mechanism for the dispensation of justice was the only way to ensure stability of the country, good governance and for maintaining our democratic ideals, which could further result in economic development. It is why the people of Pakistan so vehemently struggled for the independence of judiciary, he observed. The Chief Justice, however, said that the judiciary could not achieve its goals without putting its house in order first. We need to eradicate the fundamental evils amongst our own ranks including the inefficiency and lack of integrity, he said. He said that a strict mechanism of accountability and vigorous monitoring would be embarked upon to ensure implementation of the National Judicial Policy. He said that the performance of district and sessions courts would be specifically focused where, he said, bulk of the backlog existed. The Chief Justice said that the Policy was giving positive results within one month of its implementation and hailed the attitude of the Bar in cooperating with the judiciary to achieve the goals of the Policy. However, he said, there were a number of hurdles in the way. The lower courts in provinces were under-staffed and lacked the required number of judicial officers and proper buildings and furniture facilities, he said. He said that according to the report of the Ministry of Law, 50% posts were lying vacant in banking courts, two-thirds posts in federal services tribunals were not filled while only 65 presiding officers in special courts were appointed against the 127 sanctioned posts. He stressed the need of filling vacant posts in judiciary and providing proper staff and other facilities to facilitate speedy justice. However, he said, the judiciary could deliver with earnest efforts and dedicated services despite the difficulties and problems. He said the nation had attached great expectations with the judiciary and was looking forward for relief and succour. He said the judiciary would have to address the grievances of common men and women and protect them from cruelty, oppression and exploitation besides punishing the wrong doers. Other participants of the conference included the judges of the apex court, chief justices of all the high courts, Chief Justice Federal Shariat Court, judicial officers from across the country, senior police officials of the four provinces, Attorney General for Pakistan, advocates and prosecutors general of the provinces and representatives of the Bar and Civil Society. They observed that honesty on the part of judicial officers coupled with the sincere cooperation of the Bar and executive was essential for administering speedy and inexpensive justice. The speakers also stressed the need of resolving the cases outside the court and implementation of the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism for clearing the backlog of pending cases, main objective of the Policy. On the first day, three sessions were held on clearing the backlog, delay reduction and eradication of corruption from the judiciary. Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan and Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday chaired the sessions respectively. In each session, judges, representatives of the bar and civil society gave presentations followed by panel discussions and deliberations. Justice Javed Iqbal chaired the first session on clearing the backlog. He said that it was not the first occasion that they were pondering over similar issues. The basic thing is that the Policy is implemented wholeheartedly in letter and spirit that can deliver, he said. He said that no matter if the judiciary failed to clear the total backlog of pending cases, it would surely bring down the number of pending cases remarkably. He stressed upon the need of cooperation of executive and the Bar with judiciary in achieving the goals of the Policy. Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, who chaired the second session on delay reduction, said that the National Judicial Policy-2009 provided for practical measures within the existent legal procedural codes. However, he said there was no alternative to the hard work and commitment, which, he said, could make things possible. He said that the judges alone could not resolve the problems and that sincere cooperation from the Bar and executive was required for the implementation of the Policy. Chairing the final session on the first day on eradication of corruption from judiciary, Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said that the struggle for independence of judiciary should be continued till the achievement of its goals. He said these were able and honest judges, not the courts that provided justice. He said that they knew there were enormous hurdles in implementation of the National Judicial Policy, but said that nothing was impossible if there was resolve and commitment. He further said that administering justice in an impartial manner should be the first priority of a judge no matter whatever the circumstances might be.