ISLAMABAD - National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) on Monday approved establishment of Expeditious Justice Initiative (EJI) Phase-II and III.

The NJPMC also approved that respective high court will nominate judicial officers within two weeks for giving effect to the EJI-II and EJI-III.

Chairman NJPMC Asif Saeed Khan Khosa emphasised that during training, the nominated judicial officers may be sensitised with respect to disposal of appeals in-limine which are not maintainable.

The approval was given during meeting of the NJPMC held with Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa in the chair.

Chairman NJPMC Asif Saeed Khan Khosa stated that the NJPMC being a statutory body had taken-up the task for reforming the justice sector and in this context, the model courts had also been established throughout the country, and initiative had proven successful with respect to providing speedy disposal of cases.

He further stated that no stone would be left unturned for providing expeditious justice to the general public which was also a constitutional requirement.

Director General Federal Judicial Academy (FJA) Hayat Ali Shah presented the Expeditious Justice Initiative-II (EJI-II) regarding strategy for establishment of model civil appellate courts (MCAC) and the Expeditious Justice Initiative-III (EJI-III) regarding strategy for establishment of the model trial magistrate courts (MTMC) before the committee.

He stated that under the EJI-II, it was proposed that the MCAC might be introduced in all districts of Pakistan. In this regard, the respective high courts might nominate the presiding officers/additional district judges.

He further stated that initially, the MCAC would be entrusted with appeals against orders, civil revisions, appeals in rent and family cases. The nominated judicial officers would be entrusted with 100 old cases at a time.

The office would be responsible for scrutiny of the appeals at the time of institution for any deficiency; moreover, the judges would conduct a preliminary hearing for settling all technical and legal issues.

The courts would affect service through modern devices and the scheduling conference will be held on the day respondent appears.

No adjournment would be granted and miscellaneous application to be decided before the final decision except where the disposal merits in the final judgment. Record in appeals against orders and revisions will not be requisitioned and certified copies would be attached, moreover, judgment would be announced not later than three days after conclusion.

He further stated that under the EJI-III, the model trial magistrate courts (MTMCs) were proposed to be established in all districts.

He said MTMCs would consist of pre-trial magistrate who would conduct all pre-trial proceedings and trial magistrates who would only conduct trial.

The MTMC shall be presided by magistrate empowered under section 30 Cr. P.C in each district/ sub division according to workload. The MTMC would be assigned 100 cases at a time and initially only old hurt cases would be assigned although the district and sessions judge might allocate any category of cases.

The MTMC would summarily announce judgment in case of plea of “No Contest” otherwise the trial scheduling would take place.

The chief justice Lahore High Court stated that in every district of Punjab a model court was operational since 2017, while the civil appellate model courts were operating since 2018. Chairman NJPMC remarked that other provinces might also follow the model of Punjab.

The chief justice Peshawar High Court stated that for establishment of the MCACs more judicial officers would be required upon which the NJPMC chairman remarked that although recruitment of new judicial officers was prerogative of the provincial government, however, the high court could make administrative decisions for making MCACs operational for example in district where there were four or five additional district judges, one of them could be allocated MCAC in the district which had low number of judicial officers.

The secretary NJPMC Dr Raheem Awana apprised the committee in respect of its earlier directions regarding filling-up of vacant posts in the administrative tribunals and special courts. The NJPMC secretary presented statistics whereby it was informed that since 31st December, 2018, a considerable number of vacancies were lying vacant in the administrative tribunals and special courts causing impediment in dispensation of justice.

The committee directed the NJPMC secretary to approach federal and provincial governments and convey its concern regarding non-implementation of earlier directions of NJPMC, which had statutory backing, with respect to filling-up of vacant posts in the administrative tribunals and special courts.

The NJPMC secretary briefed the committee about proposal of the ADB regarding establishment of special courts for gender-based violence cases against women and children across the country. He briefed the committee about implementation plan of the ADB for setting up of aforementioned courts. The committee deliberated upon the issue and resolved that the high courts would be asked to nominate a judge as focal person for gender-based violence courts. Moreover, the high courts might also be asked to nominate a district and sessions judge/addl. district and sessions judge from each district for training at the Federal Judicial Academy in collaboration with the ADB.

The chief justice Islamabad High Court remarked that for the success of GBV courts government’s ownership was essential in shape of requisite infrastructure.

The NJPMC secretary also briefed the committee about action plan submitted on behalf of the GDP regarding establishment of the juvenile justice and child courts in Pakistan.

He briefed the committee about relevant juvenile and child-related laws in Pakistan and said that juvenile courts were operational in Lahore and Peshawar and as per proposal of the GDP such courts required to be established in Pakistan.

The representative of the GDP also made presentation regarding need for establishment of child protection courts and also submitted a work plan in this regard.

The representative committed that the GDP would sponsor the infrastructure requirement of child courts at the provincial capitals, ICT, Mardan and Abbottabad. Moreover, the GDP would also provide training to the nominated judicial officers in consonance with the issue.