LAHORE - Only six duty magistrates will take up the matters of the suspects during the Eid-ul-Azha holidays which usually reach the figure of 300 a day in provincial metropolis.

In normal days, according to the official sources, 50 magistrates work and discharge the responsibility of dispensation of justice to the heavily-populated city - the capital of the largest province of the country.

Presently, there are over 100 police stations in Lahore, while duty magistrates work during the holidays.

The magistrate and their staff will remain present on Eid-ul-Azha holidays. Two magistrates will sit at district courts, two at Model Town courts and two at Cantonment courts.

The police, under the law, are bound to produce an accused before the relevant magistrate to get his remand within 24 hours of his arrest either it is Eid or any other day.

The increasing number of cases before judicial magistrates is creating huge trouble for dispensation of justice even during the normal days. At the same time, the magistrates hold proceedings of bail matters fixed before them, record evidences and take up the complaints of granting remand to accused persons.

Such situation not only creates problems for the magistrates themselves, it also indulges litigants and lawyers both in trouble which subsequently lead them to wait long to be heard.

A prosecutor of the lower judiciary told The Nation on the condition of the anonymity that duty magistrates, many a times, do not take up the bail applications of those accused who were arrested on minor offences. Thus, the accused of minor offences remain in police custody and face mental agony.

He added that the magistrates have the powers to deny or grant bail to any accused, after examining record and nature of the cases and checking police investigation in their matters.

Talking to The Nation, former president of Pakistan Bar Council Azam Nazir Tarar said that it is still a practice that duty magistrate do not give most of their duty time to the courts rather they leave to their homes from where they are requested to come to the courts.

“Availability of duty magistrates is a big issue, their presence must be ensured in the premises of the court,” said Tarar, who is senior counsel in criminal matters.

He further said, “The authority concerned should issue a permanent roster of duty magistrates to ensure their availability at the courts during their duty timing.”

Aftab Bajwa, another lawyer, said that around 200 to 300 cases are fixed before a magistrate in normal days and similarly around 100 to 200 cases are usually fixed before a duty magistrate in holidays. “The strength of the judicial magistrates should be increased keeping in view of the rising population, because it is difficult for a duty magistrate to hear bail matters, granting remand and recording evidence at the same time,” he added.