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Chief Justice dissatisfied with ATCs’ performance

KARACHI: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry expressed his dissatisfaction with the poor functioning of anti-terrorism courts, non-production of under-trial prisoners and dismal condition of prisons in Sindh during a meeting at the Karachi Registry of the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Chief JusticeThe Chief Justice of Sindh High Court, judge in-charge of the anti-terrorism courts, Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, Sindh IGP, Inspector General of Prisons and the Supreme Court Registrar attended the meeting.

The meeting observed that Sindh had the highest backlog of cases because pendency was three times higher than the disposal.

“Perhaps the extremely poor performance of judges of anti-terrorism courts in the province is on account of the problems associated with the method of their appointments,” the meeting said.

The participants were of the view that in the other provinces generally serving senior judicial officers were appointed as judges of ATCs whereas in Sindh mostly advocates and a few retired judges had been appointed.

It was pointed out that the Supreme Court and high courts were required to monitor the functioning of the ATCs in accordance with the Supreme Court’s judgment in the 1999 Sheikh Liaquat Hussain case to ensure that heinous offences committed by hardened criminals, terrorists and extremists were expeditiously decided in a just and fair manner.

The home secretary and IG prisons said that 90 per cent of the under-trial prisoners were produced in courts.

The meeting also took notice of rowdyism in Hyderabad and Larkana jails and asked for corrective measures, including cleansing operations, to bring about normalcy and restore writ of the government and enable judges to carry out regular inspection in jails and decide minor cases.

It was also emphasised that under-trial prisoners were produced in courts.

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