Judicial policy invites lawyers’ wrath

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Lawyers protest in capital against new mechanism of lodging FIRS

Pak Chronicle Report

Lawyers are observing strike call in Sessions Courts of Islamabad to mark protest against recent decision of National Judicial Policy Making Committee (NJPMC) under which sessions courts would entertain applications under section 22 A /22B of CrPC only for lodging FIRs when they’re accompanied by decision of relevant district SP Complaints.

What sections 22 A/22 B of CrPC are? Under sections 22 A/22 B of Criminal Penal Code (CrPC) a complainant was required to get court order if he was denied the right of lodging FIR at the relevant police  station.

Now the sessions courts would not entertain applications in this connection unless they are furnished with decision of relevant district SP Complaints.

Islamabad Bar Association (IBA) has announced to observe complete strike on Friday against the decision of   NJPMC which provides just another forum to a complainant, the Superintendent of Police (SP) in case someone is denied lodging of an FIR by an SHO.

IBA demands withdrawal of new judicial  policy:  The Islamabad bar Association is demanding immediate withdrawal of this new development which is supposed to lessen burden of the cases on the courts and provide another forum to a complainant to register an FIR.

In notice addressed to bar’s all members the Islamabad Bar Association said that that it has serious reservations with regard to sections of 22-A and 22-B of CrPC and other matters pertaining to new judicial policy (decision of NJPMC) as they are against the constitution and law.

“Therefore, Islamabad Bar Association demands immediate withdrawal of new judicial policy and announces to observe complete strike on Friday,” the notice stated.

These two section 22-A and 22-B of CrPC are related to denial of FIR by an SHO of a police station and make complainant to move to Session Courts for registration of FIRs.  As per decision of NJPMC session courts have been directed not to entertain applications under section 22A of CrPC unless accompanied  by decision of relevant district SP Complaints.

NJPMC formulates new mechanism of lodging FIRs:  Decision into this effect was taken in the meeting NJPMC which was held on March 11 and chaired by Mr Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP).

As per one of decisions made by the meeting a new mechanism has been devised to approach the SP to register an FIR on the request of the complainant in case one was denied lodging of an FIR by an SHO.

If SP concerned fails to redress the problem only then the complainant can approach the court for swift action in this connection. Decision into this effect was supposed to lessen the burden of cases a great deal on the courts.

During the meeting of NJPMC the Chief Justice of Pakistan/Chairman, NJPMC had stated that currently courts of the Sessions Judges and Additional Sessions Judges, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, are burdened with cases relating to giving directions to the Police Authorities for registration of cases. The CJP had stated that the above referred jurisdiction tantamount to involvement of judiciary in executive functions and is in collision with the principle of separation of powers. The secretary, NJPMC briefed the committee that from January 1st 2017 to February 28, 2019 a total number of 614,307 cases under section 22 A/22 B CrPC., were filed in the District Judiciary throughout the country, while during the same period 47,029 cases under the said provisions were filed in the High Courts.

The committee also resolved that since a Police Complaint Redressal Mechanism, as per recommendations of the Police Reforms Committee, has been operationalized at district level in all over Pakistan, which is headed by SP Complaints, therefore, applications under section 22 A CrPC, may not be entertained by the courts unless accompanied by decision of the relevant district SP Complaints. The secretary, NJPMC briefed the committee that during January, 2019 till date, a total number of 25,426 complaints have been disposed of by the Complaint Redressal Centers of Police Department.

In case of denial of lodging an FIR by a police station people have no other option than to approach the courts which constitutes massive burden on them.

However, Islamabad Bar Council believes that the decision into this effect would pave way for corruption and the police would get edge over the proceedings. It vows to continue its protest till the decision in  this context is withdrawn.

Secretary Law & Justice Commission of Pakistan clarifies the matter: Meanwhile Secretary Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan Dr Rahim Awan during his informal chat with media persons said that any affected party may contact High Court or subordinate courts for registration of FIR. He said if an SHO or SP didn’t register an FIR then it would become part of their record of misuse of authority.

“Complaint Cell is a solution but if the issue is not addressed then judiciary may be approached. At the same time on lodging an incorrect FIR the police officials concerned would also be made answerable,” he said.

A few bars misunderstood the issue: According to him some bar councils interpreted the decision incorrectly which was made by NJPMC. He said Complaint Centre has been made bound to respond within a week on the complaint of a person. If an SP does not register an FIR then under section 22A and 22B judiciary may also be approached for lodging an FIR.

Ends

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