LAHORE - The implementation of the countrys first ever National Judicial Policy is being closely monitored by the National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) to ensure clearance of the backlog, early decisions on fresh cases, end to corruption in Judiciary and mitigation of the litigants sufferings, yet a big chunk of the Punjab lawyers is not satisfied with the same mainly reasoning that quality of justice has been compromised on the speedy disposal of the cases. The Policy framed against the public demand of speedy disposal of cases of all nature, particularly civil and family ones, was kicked off in June 2009. Since then the policy has worked well to cut down the backlog at both levels of the institution. Lawyers in Punjab, however, are divided on the policy and the majority does not support the same. And dissatisfaction on the part of this section of lawyers is polluting environment in the courts with abuses, indecent remarks, altercations, locking of the court rooms, threats to the judicial officers and protest against the judges alleging that they do not properly hear the cases but rush to pass decisions. Generally the lawyers appear to have conceded to the policy for the time being, however, it was revealed through survey that dissatisfaction was growing on it with the passage of time. The NJPMA during its June last meeting in Quetta on the completion of one year of the policy, had sounded satisfied with the Courts performance on achieving most of the targets. It was revealed in that meeting that 2009 to 2010, the SC, Federal Shariat Court, all high courts and all sub-ordinate courts decided a total of three million cases while 2.6 million new cases were also filed during the same period. When the new judicial policy was launched, there was a backlog of over 1.7 million cases. However, this has reduced to 1.2 million cases. The policy as a matter of fact, reflects aspiration of the poor suffering financially and physically due to long delays in decisions of their cases. The Committee, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, is meeting regularly to judge performance and know results of the Policy and is passing time to time instructions to the quarters concerned so that they can deliver to their maximum. Purely in the public interest and after deep brainstorming, the policy was set on the premise that cases on criminal and civil sides would strictly be decided within time limits after the Committee had approved various short and long cut measures to achieve the target for early disposal of the cases. Under it all pre and post-arrest bail applications are being decided within seven days, criminal cases punishable with imprisonment up to seven years registered after January 1, 2009, in the shortest period, not exceeding six months and cases punishable with imprisonment exceeding seven years, including punishment of death, should be decided within one year. All stay matters have to be decided within 15 days of grant of interim injunction and in case of delay the reasons should be furnished to the high court. The policy envisaged decision of the rent cases within four months and appeals thereon within two months. Family cases, including custody of minors, succession certificate, letter of administration insolvency and maintenance were to be decided within six months while civil appeals arising out of family cases, custody of minors and against interim order, within 30 days. Cases relating to banking and different taxes and duties such as income tax, property tax etc, have to be decided within six months. While talking to this scribe on the Policy, Chairman Executive Committee Punjab Bar Council, Rana Akram Khan said Council received letter from bars associations throughout the province expressing their reservations on the NJP following which the body carried a resolution to seek its abolition. He said they had also conveyed their point of view to the CJP in a meeting and that majority of lawyers resented the policy. Besides others, Akrams main objection was to the association of the lawyers with 2/3 years standing with the Court proceedings to record witnesses which, he said, has downed the quality of the proceedings besides opening another channel of corruption. He did not agree that inordinate length of cases benefits the lawyers financially and said, the policy had whipped the judicial officers to expeditious disposal of cases without realizing the fact, quality of justice would suffer if the judges would be obliged to decide hundreds of cases daily on the list within a timeframe. Not that but it was also possible for the lawyers to prepare so many cases for pleading in a case. Hence, quality is being compromised to rush for early decision of the cases. He calls for increasing the number of judges so that each one has a reasonable number of cases to deal with. A judicial officer on the condition of anonymity pointed out problems about the Policy and said, for effective implementation of the policy we need to re-do and cut short the civil and criminal procedure to obtain the desired results. Secretary LHCBA Babar Murtaza speaking against the Policy also highlighted the importance of increasing number of judges in order to deliver early decision observing all parameters of law. He said 'justice hurry is justice burry and hurriedly decided cases leave many lacunas, which not only add to the burden on the appellant courts but also create complication in dealing with the same. He says lawyers and the courts alone cannot do unless other departments like, prosecution, police, public offices are also moved to honestly and timely do on their part to advance the cause of speedy justice. About the policy, however he observed a positive sign that level of corruption has come down considerably in judiciary by that. When a question on the number of judges in Punjab was put before, Registrar LHC, Abdul Sattar Ashgar to meet the challenges of the Policy, he expressed his complete satisfaction with the working of the Policy and number of judges to carry it on. He counted the present number of 953 Civil Judges, 280 Additional Judges besides the District and Sessions Judges, quite sufficient and doing excellently to give the required results under the policy. He said at the Punjab level, the old cases have been categorized in three for their clearance till December 31 next and they were well on the way to the target. The outcome of the debate is that, the Policy has been introduced with a sincerity of purpose but its success is not possible without wedding the lawyers with the process of its faithful implementation. The concerned ones have to make sure that the Policy is virtually good not only on the paper but also on the ground as the poor not only need timely decision but also fair justice against their grievances and both need to be ensured.