ISLAMABAD:Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed said on Monday that the protest organised by the lawyer community on September 9 against the appointment of junior judges to the Supreme Court (SC) was “uncalled for”.
The chief justice made these remarks while addressing a ceremony to mark the start of the new judicial year. The top judge said that the SC and superior judiciary was open to talks with lawyers to chalk out an effective and objective criteria for the elevation of judges to the top court.
CJP Gulzar said even though he was “always” ready to meet the representatives of the lawyer community for an amicable solution to their problems, this time no one approached him regarding the appointment of judges.
He went on to say that he wondered what was the motive behind the lawyers’ agitation on SC premises last week.
The CJP said that there was an increase in the “pendency of cases” due to coronavirus, adding that the judges “spent a major part of the year trying to implement plan of action to deal with this problem”.
“In addressing this problem, my brother judges and the staff of this court have provided full support and cooperation and worked with dedication and zeal to ensure the provision of justice,” the top judge added.
The CJP said that e-courts proved beneficial in addressing problems faced by litigants and parties to the case. “In the previous judicial year 2019-2020, one of the main reasons we identified for the backlog of cases was adjournments given to advocates who were unable to reach Islamabad due to various reasons,” he added.
“The video-link facility has played an active and key part in ensuring the smooth operation of our judicial functions throughout the pandemic and has prevented unnecessary adjournments,” the CJP added.
At the start of the previous judicial year, a total of 45,644 cases were pending, whereas 20,910 fresh cases were instituted, the CJP said.
During the outgoing judicial year, the court decided 12,968 cases, including 6,797 Civil petitions, 1,916 civil appeals, 459 civil review petitions, 2,625 criminal petitions, 681 criminal appeals, 37 criminal review petitions and 100 criminal original petitions.
“I may mention here that during the previous judicial year, the court has to hear many cases involving constitutional interpretation and many larger benches were constituted for that purpose… it affected the overall disposal of regular petitions and appeals.”
Besides, the repeated waves of Covid also affected the rate of disposal of cases, he said, adding that “due to the said limitations” the number of pending cases increased slightly.