SC issues new directives for Federal and Provincial governments
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court (SC) issued a directive to both federal and provincial governments, mandating the immediate enforcement of laws pertaining to prisoner probation.
Justice Athar Minullah authored a five-page judgment in which the court emphasized the severe human rights violations occurring in overcrowded prisons. The court highlighted that those most affected by the inadequate prison conditions are typically impoverished individuals and criticized the state for failing to deliver affordable and prompt justice to them.
The court stressed the pivotal significance of granting probation-based releases in the face of unjustifiable deprivation of liberty, asserting, "It is the right of every eligible prisoner to be considered for liberty through probation."
Justice Minallah pointed out that the executive authorities' neglect to fulfill their legal obligations and enforce laws related to inmates amounts to a breach of their duty of care towards incarcerated individuals. The court order also warned that such a breach could expose the authorities and the state to potential lawsuits by inmates suffering in overcrowded prisons.
Furthermore, the court deemed the prison conditions intolerable in a constitutionally governed society and emphasized the state's responsibility to safeguard the fundamental rights of all prisoners. The court clarified that prisoners enjoy all constitutional rights except freedom of movement.
In a related development, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Qazi Faez Isa is scheduled to convene a meeting on Wednesday at 3 pm to discuss measures aimed at enhancing the administration of justice.
Legal organizations, including the Pakistan Bar and Supreme Court Bar associations, have been invited to provide their perspectives on various matters, such as establishing benches, scheduling cases, and expediting hearings for urgent cases.