More than 1.8 million backlogged cases in Pakistan may soon be cleared from the books as the country’s judiciary has plans to adopt an e-court system, Gulf News reported Thursday.

Under the e-court system, prisoners in jail may record their statements without ever coming to court and the measure will provide more security to witnesses to provide live or recorded statements via video links, the report said.

Perhaps more importantly, the decision will allow lawyers to argue their cases via video links so they will not have excuses for not attending court and delaying decisions, Gulf News reported.

The decision was announced at a full court meeting headed by new Pakistani Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in Islamabad, the report said.

Khosa ruled the e-court system will be installed on principal seats and other registries of the Supreme Court, Gulf News reported.

Between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, the report said, the meeting was informed 6,407 cases were filed in the Supreme Court, of which 6,342 cases were settled and subsequently disposed of.

Currently 40,535 cases were pending in the Supreme Court alone, Gulf News reported. The meeting appeared satisfied on the ratio of settled and pending cases. It was also unanimously decided to constitute special benches to hear cases of different nature.

Khosa called for the use of video link connectivity to allow lawyers’ arguments from the branch registries in order to minimize a backlog of cases, the report said.

The e-court system was first launched by the accountability court in 2016 to fast track decisions on cases, especially involving the trials of hardened criminals, ensure the protection of witnesses and the speedy disposal of cases, Gulf News reported.

An e-court allows court proceedings to function more smoothly, such as presenting evidence, filing judicial records or hearing testimony remotely, the report said. However, all this is done in the presence of a judge.

Speaking to Gulf News, a Dubai-based Pakistani lawyer Raees Qureshi welcomed the decision. “I think it is a great decision but cannot be implemented in all the cases,” he said.

He explained an e-court system could be used in some cases where transporting criminals or witnesses are difficulties or because of logistic issues, the report said. However, he said e-courts would certainly be beneficial to dispose of minor cases.

WN.com, Jack Durschlag

Photo: AP Photo / Shakil Adil
e senior most judge of Pakistan Supreme Court Rana Bhagwandas, center, walks out upon his arrival at Quaid-e-Azam International airport in Karachi, Pakistan on Wednesday, March 21, 2007. Bhagwandas, the next senior most judge of Supreme Court after suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, to become acting chief justice of the Supreme Court, an official said., added: 2007-11-13
Photo: AP / Anjum Naveed, FILE
Photo: AP Photo/Anjum Naveed
Supporters of Pakistans President Gen. Pervez Musharraf wave National flags as they dance to celebrate Supreme Court decision at a rally in Islamabad, Pakistan on Friday, Sept. 28, 2007. Pakistan´s Supreme Court dismissed legal challenges to Mushar, added: 2007-10-05
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