Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Criminology

Causes for Delay in Civil Justice in Lower Courts of Pakistan: A Review

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Criminology

Causes for Delay in Civil Justice in Lower Courts of Pakistan: A Review

Article excerpt

Introduction

Justice means to specify basic rights and duties and to determine the appropriate distributive shares (Rawls, 1971). Within the context of the rule of law, the notion of justice presumes an egalitarian society. An egalitarian society can mean to each the same, or to each according to some distinctive particularities (Perelman, 1963). Justice is as necessary to a nation-state as oxygen is to human beings, and in its absence societies cannot thrive or stay alive for long (Iqbal, 2006). A state may not be called a state in its true sense, if it has failed to discharge its functions concerning the administration of justice (Chaudhry, 2012). Justice is necessary for the maintenance of public harmony and conflict resolution, sustained peace and safety, ensure development and good governance, and enable enforcement of rights(Armytage, 2012). It is considered a very sacred duty of the state in Islam, which will perform it in consonance with the injunctions of Allah in most sincere and resolute way. Allah Almighty has ordained in the Holy Quran: "O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. But Just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah, for Allah is well acquainted with all that ye do." (Chapter 5, Verse 8).

Despite of all the importance justice system is still confronted with many problems all over the world. Overcrowded dockets, legal costs, and delays are the problems lamented almost all over the world (Hazra & Micevska, 2004). One of the grey areas, where our justice delivery system has failed to come up to the people's expectations is that the judiciary has failed to deliver justice expeditiously (Krishnan & Kumar, 2011). Which is the most horrible and repeatedly complained about and the same is considered the main reason for the prevalent dissatisfaction with the legal system (Adler, Felstiner, Hensler, & Peterson, 1982).

It is worth mentioning that a law suit cannot be decided overnight and needs an adequate span of time in between the first presentation of the case to a court and obtaining a final judgment (Council of European, 2006). For the disposal of a case in order to conduct inquiries, to collect evidence, to clarify all the questions of law, and to establish the relationship between the parties and thus for the courts to conclude a reasonable decision (Anderson & Gray, 2006)That is why we need to define delay; so that to distinguish undue or unreasonable delay and the delay necessary for procedural observance, also to establish its existence, depict its prevalence and to discover its causes, because in the absence of a definition; delay is a matter of individual perception (Martin, Prescott, Hudson, & Courts, 1981). What is conceived as quick and efficient by a court or a party may be wrong to the other side (Adler, et al., 1982). Delay in justice refers to the time spent in the disposition of case, extra to the time within which the decision of the court was reasonably expected (Balakrishnan, 2007).

Although the problem of delay is a universally present but in Pakistan the position has worsened to such an alarming extent which is eroding the very system of administration of justice. It has undercut the public confidence in the judiciary (Iqbal, 2006). Secondly it is more prevailing in civil justice than the criminal justice(Law & Justice Commission of Pakistan, 2003). The gravity of the situation can be determined from the pendency of around 2.5 million of cases in the courts of Pakistan which are estimated to take approximately 15 years to be cleared even if new cases were not registered (Akhtar, Alam, Shafiq, & Detho, 2008). Normally an ordinary civil suit is decided in twenty years and another five years are required for the execution of the decree (International Crisis Group, 2008). The situation is particularly threatening at the lower courts level where the litigants come in the first instance to get justice. …

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