Ordinary litigants searching for Justice at SC

Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: Due to prolonged proceedings of high-profile cases regarding political matters, ordinary litigants at the Supreme Court wait for their turn, complaining about delay in justice.

The Supreme Court Registrar’s office issues cause lists of a number of routine cases every day but most of them are not taken up by the court, which is a big problem for the litigants, who come from all over the country for their cases. Likewise,lawyers are also unhappy about the adjournments in routine cases because of high-profile matters.Representatives of superior bars have urged the Supreme Court to fix only those cases which would be taken up, otherwise, they said, the miseries of the litigants due to the pending cases would continue. They also said the Supreme Court office should fix routine cases in other benches, when a hearing of any high profile matter is going on in the courtroom No 1.

It is to be noted that contempt of court cases against parliamentarians have remained dominant in the Supreme Court’s proceedings against parliamentarians and others during 2012.Though Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is making hard efforts regarding the supremacy of law as it has been reported that he works for 20 hours a day but the fate of litigants in Pakistan is unchanged. Nobody can deny the chief justice’s efforts for better law and order in Balochistan.

Talking to Media, Supreme Court Bar Association President Yasin Azad said that due to a large number of high profile cases, common litigants were suffering, adding that he had been receiving complaints from lawyers about postponement of their cases. He said if the Supreme Court had to take up high profile matters, it should fix those routine cases which could be taken up. He further said that litigants and their lawyers suffered due to formation of special or larger benches in high profile cases. Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Akhtar Hussain also said that common litigants were suffering due to high profile cases. But he said that only judiciary should not be blamed in that regard as people were approaching the Supreme Court due to bad governance.

He questioned why the government had not appointed the federal ombudsman for two years, adding that people’s grievances could be resolved through an active ombudsman.Hussain further said that people faced immense problems due to shortage of judges in high courts as well. He said the PBC had passed a number of resolutions regarding the appointment of judges but many seats were still vacant. It is pertinent to mention that the Judicial Commission of Pakistan appoints the superior courts’ judges after the passage of 19th Amendment.Likewise, lawyers have also expressed concern over the appearance of professional litigants in the apex court in different political matters.

It has been witnessed that a litigant, Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi, files eight to 10 petitions in the court in a week. He says his 40 petitions are pending in the Sindh High Court in different matters. Similarly, a number of his cases are pending in the apex court.Renowned lawyer Justice (r) Tariq Mahmood also expressed concern over the appearance of professional litigants in different political matters, saying it should be probed who was behind them as it was not easy to file a petition on every matter without inside information.

He said these professional litigants had malafide intentions in filing petitions on different matters related to politicians. He also objected to the acceptance of such petitions by the Supreme Court Registrar’s office. The lawyer also criticised the media for giving these professional litigants too much importance.He urged the Supreme Court to ignore professional litigants’ petitions, saying these were based on political motives. A floodgate of petitions could not make governance better, he added. – Dailytimes