Delay in submitting challans vitiates fair trial in K-P: SC
Says ‘achieving a speedy justice process’ objective has been lost sight of
The Supreme Court has declared that unjustifiable delay in the submission of investigation reports (challans) vitiates fair trial and due process in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
"The British colonial rulers had enacted the Code in 1898 and had bound themselves to submit investigation reports (challans) promptly. In 1992, the Code was amended and a proviso specifying certain time periods was inserted after Section 163(1) to ensure further expeditious submission of the reports, but these time periods are mostly observed in the breach.
“It is now over 73 years since we attained independence, with a great many sacrifices, but even the standard set by foreign rulers is not met and the betrayal of the people continues.
“And, it seems that with every passing day the situation deteriorates further. It is a rare case in which the investigation report (challan) is submitted within 14 days from the recording of the FIR," a three-page order authored by Justice Qazi Faez Isa in post arrest bail matters read.
A division bench of the apex court comprising Justice Isa and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah heard the case.
The order said that they are constrained to observe that this unjustifiable delay in the submission of investigation reports (challans) also vitiates the fundamental rights of “fair trial and due process” which the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan guarantees in its Article 14A.
The court said that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Prosecution Institution was established under the act for the stated objective of “achieving a speedy justice process” but as this case, and many others testify, this objective has been lost sight of.
"The prosecution institution was established to oversee the police investigation and ensure the proper and timely prosecution of cases, but instead it is delaying the commencement of trials.
Also read: Challans of 9,568 cases pending
As per the learned additional prosecutor general (AAG), the prosecution institution received the investigation report (challan) from the police on February 18, 2021, but sat on it for about four months for no reason whatsoever.
"The prosecution institution is required to ensure that the police properly investigate cases and the investigation report is comprehensive and according to the law. The object of the Prosecution Institution is not to create hurdles in the timely submission of investigation reports (challans)."
The court has sent a copy of this order to the K-P Prosecution Institution director general, the advocate general and the principal police officer.