Law Ministry under guidance of Ali Zafar drafts bills for provision of timely justice.
Barrister Ali Zafar said that delay defeats justice. It is especially true in the context of civil disputes pending adjudication before the civil courts and it may take years or even decades to get a civil case decided by a civil court,he said.
He pointed out that the major reason for not being able to address this problem is lack of law reforms. In that respect, it is a ground-breaking accomplishment of the caretaker government that during this short period, Law Ministry has finalized the Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The Bill aims at expeditious disposal of civil cases without compromising the fundamental right of fair trial. Reforms are proposed in filing of plaint, service of summons, filling of written statements, preliminary hearing, alternate dispute resolution, case management system, day to day trial, commission for recording of evidence, earliest decision of trial and appeals,he said.
He also said that the proposals also limit unnecessary discretion of civil courts and restrict granting of adjournments and subjecting the parties at fault with heavy penalties in the shape of costs. Object of these reforms is to revolutionize the trial system and bring it in line with the Courts' system operating in modern world in other countries. It will initially be applicable only in Islamabad.
Another Bill has also been finalized to protect names of public places and to lay down the procedure for naming and renaming of Federal public places. The names of public places play a significant role in orientation, communication, vocabulary, and recognizing spirituality and reflecting the community values of the time. It provides records of historical and cultural value and ensures the capacity to unambiguously identify and locate geographical entities and public places as an essential system for services, infrastructure and public administration.
However, presently no legal sanctity and protection is attached to the existing names of such public places including building and structures. The Bill provides a framework to ensure a coordinated, consistent, fair and equitable protocol which is to be followed by the Naming Committee and the Federal Government when investigating and determining naming proposals.
Suits for defamation are inordinately delayed and despite provision of section 14 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002 for decision of such case in 90 days, it takes years for the Courts to decide a case of defamation. Such delays make remedies insignificant and existing procedure do not create any deterrence against publication of false and frivolous defamatory statements.
A Bill to amend the Defamation Ordinance 2002 has been prepared which aims to streamline the procedure in order to ensure early disposal of defamation suites, create deterrence against frivolous litigation and swift execution of decrees in defamation suits. The minimum and maximum amount of general damages has also been proposed to be rationalized since these were last fixed in 2004. Provision of security for execution of decree is made mandatory for stay of execution by the appellate Court.
There are many cases pending before the Courts due to defective or illegal transfers of immovable properties. In order to remedy the problem, it is essential that each party to transaction of an immovable property valuing more than ten million rupees must engage an advocate. The advocates of the parties will scrutinize the contents of the transfer deed to ensure that it is in compliance with the law, endorse the transfer deed as having been executed by the transferor or transferee with free will and represent the transferor or transferee before the Sub-Registrar or Registrar. An amendment in the Registration Act 1908 has also been finalized for the consideration of the next elected Government.
Oral contracts are invariably alleged to deprive the rightful owners of immovable properties and made basis for frivolous protracted litigation. This misuse of law can easily be plugged by barring specific enforcement of the oral contracts for transfer of an immovable property. This will also relieve the Courts of this unnecessary burden of these frivolous cases. A Bill to amend the Specific Relief Act, 1877 has also been finalized for the consideration of the next Government.
The Bills on the subjects of welfare of senior citizens, relief & rehabilitation of civilian victims of terrorism, maternity benefits of female workers, suppression of narcotics 'ice' have also been drafted and available for incoming elected Government for consideration. Ali Zafar further added that lot of work for further law reforms is required for provision of expeditious justice to the people of Pakistan, attracting foreign direct investment to create jobs and bringing good governance through prevention of abuse of power by public officials. Caretaker Government did its best during this short period with a limited mandate. It will be a great challenge for the elected Government to steer the reform process through effective laws for achieving the afore-stated purposes.
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|Publication:||Daily the Pak Banker (Lahore, Pakistan)|
|Date:||Aug 18, 2018|
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