Fundamental Human Rights as guaranteed in the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 under Articles 8 - 28 are the back bone of Pakistan democracy. The right of constitutional writs contained in Articles 185 and 199 is one of the formidable instruments in the hands of the citizens of Pakistan to assert their rights. The constitutional courts in Pakistan have come up to the expectations of the people in enforcement of their basic rights and in many cases interpreted the constitutional provision relating to the fundamental rights.
Human Rights issues are currently the prime concerns of the International Community and no state can afford to ignore Human Rights abuses within its jurisdiction. The Peshawar High Court in order to come up to the expectations of the citizens of Pakistan to protect their fundamental human rights as guaranteed in the Constitution, has established a Human Rights Cell in the Peshawar High Court which was upgraded into Directorate on 13-10-2012 due to remarkable performance. The aim of the Cell is to provide expeditious and inexpensive justice to the public at large in cases of violation their fundamental rights in a simplest and swift manner without involving them in is lengthy procedure. The Human Right Directorate of Peshawar High Court has so far come up to the expectations of the public and has provided desirable relief to the poor and vulnerable segments of society. I pray and hope that Human Rights Directorate will always stood by the oppressed and down trodden elements of society and will leave no stone unturned in protecting their fundamental rights as guaranteed in the Constitution.
Since the creation of the province of N.-W.F.P. in 1901 and appointment of First Judicial Commissioner followed by establishment of High Court of West Pakistan, Peshawar Bench, on 14.10.1955 and thereafter since the creation of Peshawar High Court, Peshawar, on 1st July 1970 till now, there existed no institutional arrangement in the Peshawar High Court, Peshawar, for addressing the Human Rights related grievances of the people in the KPK.
It is in the year 2009, the H.R.C was established under the supervision of Hon’ble the Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court, as contained in the Article 8 to 28 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The Cell has been made functional in November, 2009, under the direct care of the Hon’ble Chief Justice, Peshawar High Court. The Directors Human Rights’ are performing their duties under the supervision of Director General and Hon’ble the Chief Justice, Peshawar High Court, Peshawar.
The Human Rights' Cell was established with the following objectives:
to do all the acts required to ensure expeditious and inexpensive dispensation of justice in response to all the calls of the public at large in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa;
no complaint should go unheard;
everyone in the province should have the unflinching sense of ownership of the Peshawar High Court as an institution committed to serve them in furtherance of their rights and to stand up to all the eventualities having slightest bearing touching infringement of their right;
all the available resources should be pressed into service without resorting to the conventional and protracted technicalities;
grievances should be redressed in a manner involving zero expenditure for the aggrieved;
to institutionalize an effective response to the communications of the people relating to infringements of their fundamental rights
Communication: Communication in writing may be addressed to the Hon’ble Chief Justice or Director Human Rights Cell, Peshawar High Court, Peshawar. In order to have proper information in the matter, the aggrieved person is required to express his grievance with specific reference to the facts constituting his right along with details of violations and violators. A communication may also be made telephonically on any one of the phone numbers: 091-9210149-58; 091-9213023; for proper advice in a matter.
On receipt of a communication in the Peshawar High Court regarding any such infringement, it is directly presented to the Hon’ble Chief Justice. His lordship makes an immediate direction to the concerned for redress of the grievance and the matter is referred to the office of the Director for further necessary action in the light of directions issued. The Hon’ble Chief Justice keeping in view the circumstances of each case issues an appropriate direction, for example:
Seek remedy in accordance with law, if the matter requires judicial determination;
Be advised to apply as and when posts would be advertised, if requests for appointment;
Be deemed as writ before Peshawar High Court, for decision after comments, if the matter requires determination in the court;
Be prioritized and fixed at the earliest, if the case has already been delayed in the High Court;
Club it with the case already pending in the High Court, if the subject matter pertains to a subjudice case;
Club it with previous application, if the subject matter pertains to a matter already under process;
District & Sessions Judge concerned for necessary action in accordance with law, if the matter requires intervention at the district level;
District & Sessions Judge concerned for necessary action under the N.W.F.P Consumers Protection Act, 1997, if the matter pertains to Consumers Protection;
District & Sessions Judge concerned for necessary action under section 22-A Cr.P.C, if the matter pertains to the jurisdiction of a Justice of Peace requiring disposal at the district level;
Court concerned for information and necessary action, if the matter relates to a subjudice case;
Probe by examining all the concerned for report to Hon’ble Chief Justice, if the matter relates to allegations against a judicial officer or official, or it otherwise requires probe at the High Court level;
Additional Registrar (Judicial), Peshawar High Court, Peshawar, to examine the case for fixation before Hon’ble Chief Justice, if a pending judicial case in the High Court requires judicial determination in a Bench headed by his lordship himself;
Additional Registrar (Judicial), Peshawar High Court, Peshawar, to examine whether it can be treated as Contempt of Court Petition with reference to previous case, if the matter involves violation of a direction of the High Court;
Be forwarded to the authority concerned for necessary action under intimation to the High Court, if under the law the authority concerned itself is required to proceed further without intervention of the High Court;
Be advised that the case will be fixed on its due turn, if an out of turn favour for quick disposal of a case pending in the High Court, has been sought;
For comments it be forwarded to the authority concerned, if the matter requires prior consideration of the comments of the authority bound to have redressed the aggrieved;
Be forwarded to the Anti Corruption's Special Judge concerned, to examine whether it can be treated as complaint, under intimation to the High Court regarding the proceedings conducted in the matter, if such Special Judge is competent to proceed further in the matter;
For information it be forwarded to the authority concerned, if the circumstances of the matter do not warrant interference of the High Court;
Be forwarded to the Senior Civil Judge concerned to summon the complainant who be directed to file amended plaint for further proceedings in the subject matter in accordance with law, if the matter requires determination in a civil court of competent jurisdiction;
For comments it be forwarded to Secretary concerned of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, if the matter requires prior consideration of the comments of the head of the department who himself is bound to have redressed the aggrieved;
Additional Registrar (Judicial), Peshawar High Court, Peshawar, to examine whether it can be treated as a Habeas Corpus Petition, if it pertains to a case of missing person requiring assumption of jurisdiction at the High Court level;
Additional Registrar (Administration), Peshawar High Court, Peshawar, to examine and put up before the Hon’ble Chief Justice along with detailed report on the matter, if it pertains to a matter requiring administrative intervention of the High Court.
The Director Human Rights conducts the proceedings as per approved proposals and all the concerned are provided the fullest opportunity of hearing during the course whereof, if need be: the statements of the relevant persons are recorded, documentary evidence is collected, and contentions of the parties are heard. In most of the cases the grievances stand redressed during the course of proceedings before the Director Human Rights because at this stage the aggrieved is given:
proper opportunity of hearing;
better understanding of his rights and entitlements;
appropriate response from the authority responsible to address the grievance; and
advice regarding further suitable course of action.
Thereafter, the Director submits a detailed final report directly to the Hon’ble Chief Justice.
On perusal of the detailed final report of the Director, Hon’ble the Chief Justice may dispose of the matter without any further proceedings if:
it is anonymous not being supported by any evidence;
it is frivolous or baseless;
it is against the law and public policy;
it does not warrant interference of the High Court; or
alternate adequate legal remedy in the ordinary course is available to the aggrieved.
However, in appropriate cases, the aggrieved may be given relief by way of any one or more of the following actions depending on the nature of the grievance:
Direction to treat the communication as a Writ before Peshawar High Court
Direction to prioritize and fix a subjudice case at the earliest;
Direction to the District & Sessions Judge concerned for necessary action in accordance with law;
Direction to the Member Inspection Team or Registrar or Eradication of Corruption Cell for thoroughly probing the conduct of a judicial officer or official for disciplinary action under the rules;
Fixation of a case before Hon’ble Chief Justice;
Direction to the Administration of the High Court regarding a matter requiring disposal by the High Court itself in discharge of its administrative functions;
Issuance of mandatory instructions to all the concerned relating to the subject matter in the provincial judiciary for compliance and follow up;
Direction to the head of department concerned in the provincial Government inviting his attention to a situation requiring his intervention for the performance of duties and functions by all the concerned for improved delivery of service to the people in the given circumstances.