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Backlog of over 18,000 criminal cases in Islamabad court affects justice system

2023 Oct 15, 19:50, Islamabad [Pakistan]
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Over 18,000 criminal cases are pending in the Islamabad court, with a majority of the suspects going scot-free as a result of archaic laws, weak prosecution, and flawed investigation, reported Pakistan-based Dawn.

According to the statistics provided by the court, 9369 criminal cases are pending with the Sessions Division (West) of Islamabad whereas the total pendency of Sessions Division East is 8,660.

Additionally, the total number of pending cases in Islamabad has surged to a total of 18,029.

In 2023, the sessions court convicted suspects in 1143 cases, however, in 661 cases the convicts got acquitted through appellate forums, majorly as the prosecution in the trial courts were weak, Dawn reported.

Moreover, the acquittal in rape cases is alarming.

In more than 80 per cent of cases, suspects evaded punishment due to flawed investigation, weak prosecution and out of court settlements.

Adding to the list of causes of increasing pending court cases, legal experts believed that a large number of suspects in pending cases would also benefit due to the centuries old laws on which the investigation agencies, prosecution and courts relies.

The Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court (IHC) have consistently pointed out the prosecution's failure, even in high-profile cases, according to Dawn.

Islamabad High Court justice Aamer Farooq in a recent cases, highlighted the government's inability to improve the criminal justice system.

In July, Farooq stressed, "Criminal justice system is in dire need of re-engineering its processes, optimising the use of human resources, and bringing about the changes in the law to utilise the information and communications technology to its maximum".

The high court decision suggested that "the changes in law and the rules with said purpose in mind will and can revolutionise the justice system and improve not only the quality of judgments but also the quantity and will enable the courts in the expeditious dispensation of justice".

It further observed the use of "modern technologies for dispensation of justice is being put to use in various judicial systems, especially in the West and also has seen progress in leaps and bounds across the border where laws are quite similar to ours".

The judgementalso stated, "future lies in the adoption of modern information and communications technologies, rather in days to come artificial intelligence can and would bypass human resources as well".

The court noted that the court">Criminal Procedure Court (CrPC) was frames almost 140 years ago and the legislature failed to update the law as per the advancement in technology, Dawn reported.

The Prosecutor General of the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) Raja Inam Ameen Minhas said that the litigants are losing faith in the criminal justice system not only because of weaknesses and shortcomings of the judicial branch but also due to flawed investigation and weak prosecution.

Minhas further suggested amendments in the relevant statutes for setting up a proper prosecution department in Islamabad, coordination between the investigation and forensice teams and introduction of modern technology in criminal trials, and capacity building of the judicial officers. (ANI)


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