LAHORE - An untoward situation erupted between some judicial and police officers during the meeting of Criminal Justice Coordination Committee (CJCC) held at Sessions Court Lahore, over the frequent use of powers under Sections 22-A and 22-B CrPC by the Justice of Peace Lahore.

Sources privy to the happenings confided that the situation turned ugly when a police officer complained that as many as 16 FIRs were being registered with one police station in the provincial metropolis on the orders of the Justice of Peace (JoP). Most of the FIRs were later found false, he claimed.

Despite the fact that such large numbers of FIRs were being registered, the salary of a very high ranking police officer had been stopped, the police officers complained. On this, a judicial officer remarked that police officers did not need salary.

This sparked a furor and protest by the police side with the SSP along with his fellow SP, DSPs and other police officers staging walk-out from the meeting. Later, DIG Haider Ashraf attended the meeting and JoP, the district and sessions judge, settled the matter.

The same was confirmed by other participants of the CJCC meeting.

It has further been learnt that there were undercurrents of resentment among the police officers as a police constable was beaten up by a court official on being checked at the entry point of katchery. Later, the constable was called to the court room and again beaten up by the said Ahlmad of the court.

The Nation looked into the root cause of the issue. Entrustment of powers of Justice of Peace under section 22-A and 22-B of the CrPC to the Additional Sessions Judges have all along been a matter of contention between the judiciary and the police.

The power of registration of case is of executive and administrative nature. However, it was given to the judges during Musharraf regime. The police officers complain that anybody who can afford an influential lawyer may easily get orders for registration of FIR whether the case is false or true as the law on the subject is very deficient and provides room for registration of FIRs against even the innocent people.

It may be recalled that owing to misuse of powers under section 22-A and 22-B, the Law & Justice Commission of Pakistan had ordered the Provincial Governments to transfer these executive powers to the administrative officials.

However, the provincial government has not so far taken any concrete steps for implementation of directions of the Law Commission which is headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

An official of the police requesting anonymity confirmed that the judicial officer’s remarks that “the police officers need no salary” were barely unacceptable for the honest and upright officers. He said that a good number of police officers do the job for self respect and they would never compromise on it come what may.

The Criminal Justice Coordination Committee consists of District and Sessions Judge as chairperson, Head of District Police, District Public Prosecutor, District Superintendent of Jails, District Probation Officer, District Parole Officer and head of investigation as members.

The Committee, that meets once every month, keep under review the operation of the criminal justice system and work towards its improvement. It promotes understanding, co-operation and coordination in the administration of the criminal justice system and exchanges information. The committee formulate co-ordinated priorities and plans to give effect to locally agreed policies and raise relevant issues with the appropriate authorities.

When contacted an additional district and sessions judge requesting anonymity confirmed that a major time of the sessions court is consumed by the petitions to direct the police register FIRs under 22-A and 22-B of the CrPC.

He said that government should give the powers to other relevant departments so that the judicial officers could focus on cases of heinous crime like dacoities, murder etc.