One-third of judges’ posts lying vacant in LHC as crime graph rises

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 03:08 PM, 21 Apr, 2020
One-third of judges’ posts lying vacant in LHC as crime graph rises

While the crime rate is going up in Punjab because of a number of factors, the dispensation of justice is not as efficient, statistics say.

As many as 20 posts of judges will be lying vacant in the Lahore High Court when another senior judge will retire on April 24.

The LHC’s sanctioned strength is 62.

According to media reports, a massive increase in crime rate was witnessed in Punjab last year as 3,881 cases of rape, 1,359 cases of child sexual abuse, 1,126 cases of child abuse, 1,758 cases of violence against women, 12,600 cases of kidnapping of women and 197 cases of honour killing were registered in police stations of the province.

This means that during the PTI’s rule, whose commitment is to provide quick justice to people, a third of the judges’ posts in the biggest province’s high court, are lying vacant. This only shows the system for the appointment is dysfunctional and the relevant authorities have failed to accord the matter the required importance.

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Needless to point out that the system of justice in the country is so slow that it is often said that decision of a case filed by a grandfather can be expected only by his grandson.

There is little justification to keep so many posts of judges vacant when thousands of competent lawyers are available in the market.

The judges’ vacancies mean the number of piling cases will go up, no matter how efficiently the sitting judges decide cases listed before them.

Last elevation at the LHC had taken place in 2018.

According to some reports, some names for judges’ posts are now under consideration and have been referred to the state agencies for their input.

Names of those to be okayed by the intelligence agencies would be forwarded to the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP).

According to a report, the Lahore High Court (LHC) has about 165,200, i.e. highest compared to any other provincial high court.  

However, these figures could not be verified because of the non-availability of the LHC PRO. His phone was found switched off and repeated efforts made to approach him failed.

His deputy could not take any calls because of a death in his family.  

The number of cases pending in Sindh High Court (SHC) is said to be 88,900.

The Peshawar High Court has 29,455 pending cases while Balochistan High Court has 6,158 cases awaiting decision.

The number of cases pending decision in Islamabad High Court stands at 16,833.

The National Assembly Standing Committee for Law and Justice at a meeting expressed concern over the report of pending cases in various courts.

The committee feels the need to increase the number of judges for expediting cases while committee members expressing concern over the appalling state of prisons and inmates have decided to hold visits to jails across the country.

“Supreme Court has 38,061 pending cases while 3,033 cases were finalised during the first two months of the year.”

According to a report, in Lahore alone the authorities registered 88 cases of child sexual abuse with boys and 17 with girls, whereas, in the preceding year, there were 41 cases of child abuse with boys and 22 with girls. Moreover, 106 cases of child sexual abuse with boys and 97 with girls were registered in 2019.

In Kasur, 75 cases of child abuse and 41 of child sexual abuse with boys were registered whereas 10 cases of child abuse and 25 cases of child sexual abuse with girls were registered. In Sheikhupura, 69 cases of child abuse and 52 of child sexual abuse with boys were registered whereas 52 cases of child abuse and 31 cases of child sexual abuse with girls were registered. A case of murder after sexual abuse was also registered in the city.

Similarly, in Gujranwala, 42 cases of child abuse and 77 of child sexual abuse with boys were registered whereas 4 cases of child abuse and 52 cases of child sexual abuse with girls were registered. A case of murder after sexual abuse was also registered in the city. In Gujrat, 41 cases of child abuse and 22 of child sexual abuse with boys were registered whereas nine cases of child abuse and one case of child sexual abuse with a girl were registered. In Pakpattan, 14 cases of child abuse with boys were registered in 2018 but in 2019, the figure had increased to 55. Meanwhile, four cases of girls being abused were registered in 2019 as well. Cases of child sexual abuse against boys also increased from six in 2018 to 24 in 2019.

In Rahim Yar Khan, a total of 28 child abuse cases against boys and 5 with girls were registered whereas 52 cases of child sexual abuse with boys and 17 with girls were registered.

Moreover, one case of the murder of girl after sexual abuse was registered in Vehari, one in Jhang, two in Faisalabad and one in Narowal. Four cases of boys being murdered after being sexually abused were registered in Rawalpindi and one in Lodhran.

Most honour killing cases during 2019 were registered in Faisalabad where 21 women were killed over honour. 13 cases were registered in Gujranwala, 12 in Rahim Yar Khan, 12 in Lahore, 10 in Mandi Bahauddin, 10 in Gujrat and 5 in Sheikhupura. A total of 197 honour killing cases were registered in the 36 districts of Punjab.

Over 220 cases of violence against women were registered in Lahore, 150 in Vehari, 118 in Okara, 118 in Sargodha, 84 in Rahim Yar Khan, 72 in Pakpattan. The total cases of violence against women in Punjab were 1,758, showing an increase of 197 cases compared to 2018.

In the 36 districts of Punjab, 12,600 cases of women’s kidnapping were registered in 2019. 2,852 cases were registered in Lahore, 899 in Faisalabad, 587 in Multan, 548 in Rawalpindi, 493 in Gujranwala, 482 in Rahim Yar Khan and 499 in Okara.

A total of 3,881 cases of rape were registered in Punjab in 2018, 581 cases higher than in 2018. 453 cases were registered in Lahore compared to 125 cases in 2018, 380 in Faisalabad, 236 in Muzaffargarh, 196 in Bahawalpur, 195 in Rahim Yar Khan.

Over 100 cases of adultery were registered in Lahore, 77 in Gujranwala. The total cases of adultery in Punjab were 935. Moreover, two women committed suicide in Attock and one in Hafizabad.