Lack of access to justice breeds corruption: CJP.

ISLAMABAD -- Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday regretted that lack of access to justice breeds corruption in society but appreciated the proposed amendments to the National AccountAabiAlity Ordinance (NAO), designed to address major concerns regarding fate of references taken out of the ambit of the accountability law due to the pecuniary value less than Rs500 million.

The CJP explained he had studied instances from the foreign jurisdiction to understand the behaviour of these countries towards corruption and discovered that the menace had a direct bearing with the right to life.

'Corruption breeds in society because of the failure to access to justice,' emphasised the chief justice, heading a three-judge Supreme Court bench that had taken up a challenge by former prime minister Imran Khan to the August 2022 amendments to accountability law.

At the outset of Tuesday's hearing, Makhdoom Ali Khan, senior counsel representing the federal government, told the court that the federal cabinet had considered certain amendments and approved a draft ordinance that has been sent to President Dr Arif Alvi for the promulgation of the same.

The counsel also cited March 11, 2023 letter of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to the president rendering an advice for promulgating the amendment in which a number of changes have been proposed like all pending inquiries or cases below the threshold of Rs500 million will now be transferred to the relevant forums by accountability court than NAB chairman. The accountability courts will also approve or disapprove closing of any inquiry or investigation into corruption allegations.

Draft of changes to accountability law sent to Alvi, SC told

Presently the proposed legislation is pending before the president, the counsel argued, adding that there were also another set of amendments under active consideration of the government which may be presented before the parliament for enactment or may also be promulgated through ordinances but the period when it will be done cannot be suggested now.

The CJP observed that it was a good thing that after the amendments, people accused of corruption would not be condoned or exonerated, rather would be handled effectively, something which was missing earlier in the law.

It is not secret, the counsel regretted, that ever since 1996 when the first Ehtesab Ordinance came and later become an act in 1997 until today, the accountability court was deployed as a tool of...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT