Judiciary to uphold constitutional supremacy: CJP

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-Says SC disposes 12,544 cases during last judicial year

By Asghar Ali Mubarak

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Monday said the judiciary shall continue to uphold the supremacy of the constitution to foster justice in all circumstances.
This he said while addressing the opening ceremony of the New Judicial Year 2020-21 of the Supreme Court in Islamabad.
The CJP said justice cannot be delivered and fundamental rights of the people cannot be protected unless the judges are fully independent and under no external pressure.
Commenting on coronavirus pandemic outbreak in the country, the top judge said that judicial system was also disturbed due to the outbreak of the pandemic and added that pace of solving cases also decreased.CJP Gulzar said every judge of the superior judiciary is under solemn oath, inter alia, to discharge the duties honestly to the best of his ability and faithfully in accordance with the Constitution and the law, and, in all circumstances, to do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.
He said it is not only a privilege to be a judge but a heavy-duty is cast upon judges, even under the oath, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, and not allow their personal interest to influence the official conduct or official decisions.
Moreover, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed on Monday said that the apex court had disposed of 12,544 cases during the previous judicial year, leaving the pendency of 45,455 cases. He was addressing a ceremony held in accordance with the start of the new Judicial Year 2020-21.
The CJP highlighting the overall institution performance and disposal of cases in apex court, said that it would be appropriate to bifurcate the previous year in to two phases, pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 and at the beginning of the judicial year, total 42138 cases were pending.
During the pre COVID-19 period, about 8817 fresh cases were filed out of which around 6752 cases were decided while during post COVID-19 period, 7046 cases were filed while 5792 cases were decided, leaving the closing balance of 45455 cases, he added.
He said “with the zeal to clear the backlog of cases, judges volunteered to forego most of their vacations and continued to perform their duties. By adopting such measures, about 12544 cases were disposed of during the previous judicial year. “I must say that the effect of COVID-19 was enormous and despite our best efforts to reduce the backlog of cases, the number of pending cases has increased slightly”, he added.
However, when the intensity of COVID-19 was reduced in Pakistan in one month of August, 2020, the rate of disposal of cases increased, that is, against institution of 691 cases, 1076 cases were decided, and I am confident that in coming months, the pattern will continue and the rate of disposal shall increase further”, he said.
He said it was observed that main contributory factor towards the delay in disposal of cases was adjournments and one of the causes for adjournments was that the advocates at time were not able to reach the Court at Islamabad on account of their personal reasons, including, the engagements at their own station.In order to overcome this problem and to provide expeditious and inexpensive justice to the litigants, the cases were heard through e-Court system.
Initially, the facility of video-link connectivity was available only at Branch Registry Karachi, but it was extended to all the Branch Registries, he added.
He said that Justice was not only the foundation of every civilized society but also one of the fundamentals of Islam as envisaged by the Holy Quran and Sunnah. Justice was not merely the determination of the rights of the public according to the law but to ensure equality before the law and everyone must be treated equally under the law regardless of gender, race, religion or colour, etc, he added.
He said “Our Constitution guarantees equality before law and equal protection of law.” He said, “With the vision to overcome the issue of protracted litigation, the Model Courts have been established throughout Pakistan, which conduct and conclude trials of criminal as well as civil cases in few months rather than years.