The Pakistan’s judicial system structure has two tiers : The superior judiciary and the subordinate judiciary. The Supreme Judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, the Federal Shariat Court, and five High Courts. The Supreme Court is the apex. The Constitution of Pakistan entrusts the Supreme Judiciary with the responsibility to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution. Separate judicial systems exist in the disputed territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The independence of the Pakistani judiciary has changed as time passed. The Supreme Court has original, appellate, and advisory jurisdictions. The president of Pakistan appoints the justices
Apart from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, some areas are not yet a constitutional part of Pakistan. They are Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. According to the Constitution of Pakistan, these two areas are not part of Pakistan but are governed by the Government of Pakistan on an interim basis. Although Gilgit-Baltistan declared its independence from Dogra Kashmir on 1 November 1948, this day is known as Gilgit-Baltistan Independence Day. Similarly, the authority of the Constitution of Pakistan is not there, although through Presidential Ordinances, they are governed and given a transitional authority that is delegated by the Federal Government of Pakistan. Since the Supreme Court of Pakistan does not have jurisdiction over Gilgit-Baltistan, thus another form of Supreme Appellate Court. It has been introduced as the Supreme Court of Gilgit-Baltistan with the nominal powers of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Federal Sharia Court
The Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan was established in 1980 to scrutinize all Pakistani laws and determine whether they conform to “Islamic values as defined in the Qur’an and Sunnah”. If a law is found ‘unpleasant’, the court informs the government concerned giving reasons for its decision. The court also has appellate jurisdiction over sentences (hudud) arising under Islamic law. Although these decisions can be reviewed by the Sharia Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court. The decisions of the Court are binding on the High Courts as well as the Subordinate Judiciary. The court appoints its staff and makes its own rules of procedure.
District Judiciary exist in each district of each province and their civil and criminal jurisdiction is generally governed by the Code of Civil Procedure. The administrative head of the District Judiciary is the ‘District and Sessions Judge’. At each district headquarters, there are certain courts of Additional District and Sessions Judges. They have judicial powers equal to those of the District and Sessions Judge, including the trial court, the Criminal Code, which are exclusively triable. . Session i.e. Qatal Imad (culpable murder), rape, defamation DAC, city, etc.
POWER OF COURTS:
These courts are also empowered to try cases under Pakistan’s statutes of limitation. It offenses under the Narcotics Control Act, etc. These courts also work. Justice of Peace to redress grievances against police officers. In civil jurisdiction, these courts hear cases under Succession Act, Insolvency Act, suits for Government, summary suits on negotiable instruments, etc. These courts are also civil appellate and criminal appellate courts. Civil and Family Appeals and Civil Revisions against the judgments and orders of the Courts of Senior Civil Judges, Civil Judges, Rent Controllers, and Family Courts are heard by the Court of the District Judge. who also transfers them to the Additional District Judges. All sentences passed by Judicial Magistrates and sentences up to four years passed by Courts of Assistant Sessions Judges.
The West Pakistan Family Courts Act 1964 governs the jurisdiction of family courts. According to the schedule of the 1964 Act, family courts hear disputes related to the dissolution of marriage, recovery of maintenance of wives and minors, dowry, dowry, guardianship, and wards disputes i.e. custody of minors, recovery of dowry, etc. All decisions are final. Appealable in the Court of District Judge whereas interim orders are not appealable but are challenged in the High Court through constitutional jurisdiction.
Appointments to High Courts follow the same procedure as appointments to the Supreme Court. Before the 18th Constitutional Amendment, appointments to the High Courts faced the same criticism as those to the Supreme Court. In the future appointments will be made in the same manner as the Supreme Court. The minimum age limit for a High Court judge is 45 years. There is no merit system for the selection of judges for the higher judiciary. Judges in the judicial service are generally ignored during elections, while influential lawyers have the political support of political parties make it to the higher judiciary.
District and Sessions Judges
Additional District and Sessions Judges are appointed from a pool of Provincial and Federal High Courts, Advocates, and Subordinate Judges. To be eligible for appointment, lawyers must have ten years of experience as a lawyer in good standing in the relevant jurisdiction. They also have to pass the examination conducted by the High Courts. Subordinate Judges are also promoted from Senior Civil Judges based on seniority.
REPUTATION OF PAKISTAN’S JUDICIARY SYSTEM IN THE WORLD:
The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2021 report, published in October 2021, has placed Pakistan in the lowest ranking among countries adhering to the rule of law. In civil justice, Pakistan’s judiciary was ranked 124 out of 139 jurisdictions globally while in criminal justice it was ranked 108 out of 139 countries. The WJP defines the rule of law on four principles: accountability, fair law, open government and accessible and impartial justice. The index measures the rule of law in countries around the world based on nine factors that are based on public experience and perceptions monitored by “restraint on government power, absence of corruption, open government, Fundamental Rights, Security and Governance, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice and Informal Justice At first glance, the theoretical framework of the WJP review appears strong, however, on their application to the Law and Justice Commission.
Avoidable gaps in Pakistan :
Some are listed below:-
1-The nine factors employed to determine
2-The country-wide rule of law index Only two relate to the judiciary.
The system is civil justice and criminal justice, while the remaining seven are related to governance system, executive performance, and societal behavior. Despite of tumultuous history of Pakistan’s judiciary has withstood all political crises and has emerged as a beacon of hope for its people. The role of Pakistan’s judiciary has been invaluable in the development of Pakistan‘s democracy. Although there have been many attempts to weaken its mandate, the judiciary has grown stronger and more independent with each setback.
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