PakistanSupremeCourt
Pakistan Supreme Court. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: More than 1.8 million pending cases in Pakistan may now be disposed off within a short span of time as the judiciary has planned to adopt e-court system.

The e-court system will make it easier for the accused in jail to record their statements even without coming to the courts. It will provide more security to witnesses who will be allowed to give live or recorded statements via video links. At the same time, lawyers will also be able to argue their cases through video links and will not have excuses for not attending the courts, causing delays in decising cases.

The landmark decision was taken during the full court meeting headed by new Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa on Wednesday in Islamabad.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa
Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa Image Credit: Supplied

During the meeting, the Chief Justice decided that e-court system will be installed on principal seats and other registries of the Supreme Court .

The meeting was informed that 6,407 cases were filed in the Supreme Court between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. Of them, 6,342 cases were settled and subsequently disposed off.

The full court session also noted that currently 40,535 cases were pending in the Supreme Court only. The meeting expressed satisfaction on the ratio of settled and pending cases. It was also unanimously decided to constitute special benches to hear cases of different nature.

Khosa called for application of latest video link connectivity to allow lawyers’ arguments from the branch registries in order to minimise backlog of cases.

The e-court system was first launched by the accountability court in 2016 to fast track the decision on cases especially involving the trials of hardened criminals, ensure the protection of witnesses and the speedy disposal of cases.

An e-court involves an infrastructure that allows the court proceedings to function more smoothly, such as presenting evidence, filing judicial records or hearing testimony remotely. However, all this should be done in the presence of a judge.

Speaking to Gulf News, a Dubai-based Pakistani lawyer Raees Qureshi welcomed the decision of setting up –e-court system. “I think it is a great decision but cannot be implemented in all the cases,” he said.

He explained that e-court system could be used in some cases where transporting criminals or witnesses face difficulties or logistic issues. However, he said that e-courts would certainly be beneficial to dispose of minor cases.

He noted that some radical steps are required to be taken to improve the judicial system as it sometime takes decades to decide civil cases especially involving land grabbing and property disputes.