Can CJ Khosa Fix Justice System Without The Bar’s Support?
Since a decade, it had appeared that the lawyers and the judiciary are walking in the opposite direction. Any reform that is proposed by the judges, since the time of former chief justice Iftikhar Ahmed Chaudhry, the bar council and the lawyers had some reservations against it.
Similarly, the current Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, along with the National Judiciary Policy Making Committee (NJPMC), on March 11, proposed a reform related to 21A-22B CrPC to lower the burden on the judges working in the lower session and additional session courts. The reform states that the Justice of Peace, will not entertain the application under 21-A & 22-B, unless accompanied by the district superintendent’s (SP) approval.
This reform has been made on the belief that it would take down the extra burden placed on the session and additional session judges, who are not only doing the job as agent of peace but are also required to play the role of the executive body, blurring the lines of the separation of power.
The reform is currently facing an opposition from the bar councils on all levels, leading to the threats of boycott from case proceedings under 21-A & 22-B of CrPC. They argue that this will not only impact on the practice of the lawyers who mostly depend on the amendment for bread and butter, but will also open new doors for corruption and malpractice in police proceeding. Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Chairman Amjad Shah claimed that this reform will not only leave the applicant at the will of the police but will shatter the ceiling placed on the powers of the police department as well.
Though, the PBC, along with the provincial bar council, have shown strong grievances against the reforms, some of the lawyers have commented that the bar council was unable to fully understand the reform in the first placed, before giving a hasty conclusion.
Nonetheless, NJPMC, along with the Police Reforms Committee, has operationalised the new system on the district level, bypassing the opposition of the bar council, to which the bar council threatened to resort to protest if the decision is not taken back within three days.