Lawyers express concern over delays in submission of challans

ISLAMABAD: The lawyers practicing with the district courts of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have expressed their concerns over non-submission of challans (charge-sheet) by the police in the statutory period, saying that it was a major cause of delay in early disposal of cases.

They said despite various directions by the superior courts to the District Police Officers to ensure submission of challans within the prescribed period and take actions against the delinquent officers by treating them as inefficient under the Police Order 2002, the situation still remained almost unchanged.

“Although, in pursuance of the National Judicial Policy (NJP) 2009, action had so far been taken against over 21,00 delinquent officers on account of non-submission of challans within the prescribed period, but even then the required progress was still awaited eve the superior courts were daily pointing out about delays in submission of challans”, advocate Haseeb Muhammad Chaudhry said.

He said the chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Criminal Justice Coordination Committees (CJCC) of the Peshawar High Court as well as others High Courts had expressed concern a few months ago over the non-submission of challans in time by police for trials. The committees, he said had also directed that criminal cases should be registered under the Police Order, 2002, against the responsible investigation officers and station house officers (SHOs).

He said the CJCCs of various districts have observed that despite clear directions police were not supplying copies of the FIR to the magistrates and district public prosecutors which was requirement of law. Similarly, the ratio of services of the process of the court had become alarming; neither the accused were attending the courts nor the witnesses, which caused delay in disposal of the cases, advocate Azhar Malik said.

He said it has been observed by the superior courts time and again that in majority of cases challans (charge-sheet) were not being submitted in time. “It has been held that criminal cases within the contemplation of article 155 and 156 of the Police Order, 2002, be registered against the SHOs and investigation officers, who are not completing the investigation and submit challan in court for trial within stipulated time.

He said crime prevention and investigation are the main duties of the police and hence their performance in this respect can provide a good measure of their effectiveness and efficiency.

He said the National Judicial Policy 2009, for the expeditious disposal of cases had noted and recommended that: “Non-completion of investigation and non-submission of Challans in statutory period was a major cause of delays in disposal of cases. Since the police play a crucial role in administration of justice, therefore, the District Police Officers may be asked to ensure that the police should conclude investigation and submit Challans within the prescribed period of 14 days.

They may be asked that the SHOs who fail to comply with this statutory provision should be treated as inefficient officer under the Police Order and the court may also lodge complaint under section 166 PPC against him.

The DPOs should also submit list of cases in which Challans are still pending for want of investigation for inspection and passing appropriate orders by the District and Sessions Judge.”
However, neither challans are being presented in time nor disciplinary action is being taken appropriately against the delinquent police officers, he added.