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The Explorer Islamabad: Journal of Social Sciences

ISSN: 2411-0132(E), 2411-5487(P)


Vol-1, Issue (9):320-323
www.theexplorerpak.org

PROLONGED LITIGATION: FINDING CAUSES AND FACTORS IMPEDING JUSTICE PROVISION


IN PAKISTAN
Mazhar Hussain, Humera Dinar, Sawatia Ghazanfar
Department of Anthropology, PMAS Arid-Agriculture University, Rawalpindi
Corresponding Author:
Mazhar Hussain
PMAS Arid-Agriculture University, Rawalpindi
deadly_kyo@yahoo.com
Abstract: In Pakistan, litigation procedure delays usually. There are countless factors responsible for delaying and
prolonging the legal process undergoing in the court. The study is an effort to identify the multiple reasons which cause
delay in litigation. The data was collected using different quantitative and qualitative research tools and techniques. A
sample size of 79 respondents was drawn using purposive sampling which included different stakeholders such is
plaintiffs, defendants, lawyers, readers, stenos and clerks. This research is particularly focused on the District bar
association Attock. The study found out that neglect of officials, unprofessional attitude of lawyers, corruption, heavy
backlog of pending cases are a few factors which hamper the access of masses to swift justice provision in the society.
As a result the due role of judiciary is weakened and becomes ineffective.

Key Words: Procedure of litigation, Delay in litigation, Justice


INTRODUCTION
A Strategic litigation is much more than simply
stating your case before a judge. This section
introduces some of the broader goals of strategic
litigation, as well as some of the more important
considerations that should be addressed before
entering the courtroom(Geary 2009). Three main
elements are included in the litigation process: the
existence of the claim; resistance to that claim;
thereby constituting a dispute and on a specific
institution to adjudicate the conflicting case (Prest
and Anleu 2004). Every person is entitled to a
certain remedy from the law of the state, for all the
injuries, or wrongs which he may have received as a
person, to his property, or character; he ought to
obtain justice freely without being obliged to
purchase it completely without denial, promptly
and without delay, conformably to the laws. An
injured or wronged person may obtain a remedy in
the justice system through civil litigation. Civil
cases, such as trots, contract disputes, divorce and
other family issues, and property cases, are
noncriminal matters(Dodge 2012). Land and
commercial disputes frequently involve in reason of
litigation. like commercial and land matters which
are so numerous and contentious does not serve
the purpose of case backlog reduction in the
country(Kaweesa 2012).Corruption is one of the
reasons to become cause of delay in litigation.
Bribe, neglect of officials and misconducts are the
most frequented factors of delay in Pakistan.

Backlog of cases, the gaps and complication in the


process of lawsuit and mismanagement of case
system and extensive corruption are numbers of
factors which delay to access the justice.
Corruption and negligence are major factors which
delay
to
access
the
justice(Chowdhury
2013).Transfer of judges from one court to another
also make dispute lengthier. Appearance of new
judges requires a refresh start of the cases, need
must recheck previous cases and recalling the
plaintiffs and defendants for testimony which takes
more time for provision of justice. Delays occur in
civil cases due to transfer of judges from one
station to another(Shah, et al. 2014).In Pakistan,
courts are filled with pendency cases due to delays
in land and commercial cases and this pendency
increased in past recent years. The causes of
backlog and delay in our country are efficient and
deep(Blue and Hoffman 2008). In Pakistani courts
the civil cases are delayed more prolong than
criminal and family cases because of more
complexity and have heavy back log of cases.
Caseloads mostly comprised of land and
commercial cases. Land cases are not resolve
speedily, their complex and thus required longer
time span which automatically effects the decisions
of other cases (Blue and Hoffman 2008). Due to
delay in judicial process in Pakistan people lose
their belief and trust in justice system and law and
order enforcing agencies. The usual duration for the
disposal of civil case should be one or two years but

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it mostly takes ten to fifteen years. Delay in our


judiciary
is
bringing
justice
toward
injustice(Chowdhury 2013). Irresponsibility of
police in investigation of case or their neglect also
incurs a prolong litigation. Non-submission of
related documents during trial period also pulls the
cases lengthier. Neglecting in documentation and
investigation in legal procedures are major causes
of delay in disposal of cases(Pakistan 2009).
Disappearance of judge in courts indicates the
delay and non-provision of justice. On average 50
to 60 cases heard in a court room on daily basis but
non-punctuality of judges demonstrate heavy
backlog, delay and injustice. The problem of
punctuality of judicial officers in subordinate
judiciary is also a matter of concern in
Pakistan(Shah, et al. 2014).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study was carried out in District Bar Association
in Attock. A sample of 79 respondents was drawn
using purposive sampling technique. The research
methods included in-depth interviews, participant
observation and key informant method. A semistructured interview guide was prepared to get an
insight of the issue under study. Various causes and
factors of delay in judicial process were
documented during the research.
The hypothesis was tested through bivariate
correlation statistical method:
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
H0: Corruption is not the cause for delay in litigation
procedure
H1: Corruption is the cause for delay in litigation
procedure

Variable
Corruption

Sig.
.10

H0: Neglect of officials is not the cause for delay in


litigation procedure
H1: Neglect of officials is the cause for delay in litigation
procedure

Variable
Neglect of officials

Sig.
.43

H0: Transfer of judges is not the cause for delay in


litigation procedure
H1: Transfer of judges is the cause for delay in litigation
procedure

Variable
Transfer of judges

Sig.
.23

H0: Insufficient number of judges is not the cause for


delay in litigation procedure
H1: Insufficient number of judges is the cause for delay
in litigation procedure

Variable
Insufficient number of
judges

Sig.
.18

H0: Non-punctuality of plaintiffs or defendants is not the


cause for delay in litigation procedure
H1: Non-punctuality of plaintiffs or defendants is the
cause for delay in litigation procedure

Variable
Non-punctuality of
plaintiffs or defendants

Sig.
.01

H0: Heavy backlog of cases is not the cause for delay in


litigation procedure
H1: Heavy backlog of cases is the cause for delay in
litigation procedure

Variable
Sig.
Heavy backlog of cases
.09
The findings of the research show a positive
relationship between the dependent and
independent variables. The table depicts a strong
association between delay of legal action and
corruption, insufficient number of judges and heavy
back log of cases. The correlation values between
these variables are 0.10, 0.18 and 0.09 respectively.
These values indicate a significant relation. Also,
there exists a weak yet positive relationship
between delay and neglect of officials, frequent
transfer of judges and non-punctuality of plaintiffs
and defendants. The current study explored a
number of delaying factors impeding the legal
procedures of the courts in Pakistan. However, the
most prevalent hampering factors highlighted by
the 50.6 percent respondents have been covered in
this research. Corruption is a social evil entangling
all public institutions of Pakistan. One of the public
survey reveals that in the judicial system people
face the delays in cases and encounter financial
corruption(Siddique 2011).According to the survey
conducted by DPRC reveals that more than one in
three courts user pay a bribe which clearly indicates
the corruption in the judiciary system of
Pakistan(Siddique 2011). Since this issue is related
more with clients thats why the result we get from
plaintiffs and defendants is more positive than the
officials being interviewed. The volume of backlog
of cases, the loopholes and complexity in the
procedural law and case management system and
widespread corruption and malpractices are among
a number of factors which delay and deny access to
justice(Chowdhury 2013). Formal and informal
interviews 68.4 percent plaintiffs and defendant
and also the observation revealed that neglect of
officials, their absents from duty, undutiful attitude
are major causes of delay. According to (Siddique
2010)the general tendency of lawyers to
adjournments on frivolous grounds was a major
cause of delay. Also, one of the reason behind
delays in cases and its disposal is due to the no
serious behavior of presiding officers who remain
busy in entertaining their friends and relatives

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during court hours (Khan 2011). Among various


causes of delay in legal procedure issues related to
judges hold a prime importance. Frequent transfer
of judges is a major cause of delay in legal process.
A fair number of respondents (57%) pointed out
this problem as major hindrance.With their
presiding judges getting shifted to new judges, thus
adding further delay to the case proceedings
(Siddique 2010).Thus, the judge primarily handling
a case may transfer to another court in the middle
of the proceeding, requiring the new judge
replacing him to learn again from scratch the
technological and legal issues involved in a complex
patent litigation(Takenaka 1999). Not only officials
but also general masses agreed that they face
hurdles in litigation procedure just because of
insufficient number of judges. Pendency of previous
cases require more number of judges than present
quantity. Another reason behind the sad state of
affairs is that the number of judges is highly
disproportionate to the population(Kumar
2012).Plaintiffs and defendants have a major role in
litigation procedure for testimony. The qualitative
study gathered with in-depth interviews is defining
that one of them not present at the time of
testimony due to their personal animosity with
each other make litigation more prolong.Some
time prosecutors know that their witnesses will
become forgetful and lose their interest in
testimony then prosecutor appeal for delay
(Bergmanand Berman 2003).Another major cause
of delay is heavy backlog of cases in courts.
According to qualitative research of this study
explain that according to legislative of Pakistan a
case should be finish in six month duration and
make trial speedier. The current study found that
the district bar association Attock has 1805 cases in
pendency, 612 cases were dispose off and total
number of cases registered at that time including
the new ones is 1808. The criminal trial system is
difficult, prolonged and there are continual delays
causing a severe backlog of cases in the
court(Hameed and Jamshed 2013).Pending of
cases in our courts is a main factor of delay in
disposal of cases(Bhushan 1978).
CONCLUSION
Frequent delay in litigation procedure in Pakistan
creates hurdles in provision of justice to the general
masses. Countries like Pakistan where corruption is
a major issue in every institution has also affected
the justice system in the country. There are a
number of reasons for delay in litigation but the
study focused upon the causal factors pointed out
by the respondents of this study. The most
frequently highlighted delaying factors included

corruption, insufficient number of judges, neglect


of plaintiffs and defendants and heavy backlog of
cases.
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