The Punjab government is all geared up to nominate 1130 officers from the already-existing lot, who will be given powers of the Special Judicial Magistrates as per the Criminal Procedure Code, and these public servants will be working under the provincial Home Department, and will not be supervised and monitored by the Lahore High Court.
As per details divulged by a source, on the desire of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, a committee was constituted to review appointment of magistrates for the implementation of orders falling under the purview of judicial powers, and an action plan could be provided which is allowed by law. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan was the Convener of the committee, while its members were Chief Secretary Punjab, administrative secretaries of Home, Industries, Health and Law departments.
This committee has presented recommendations to the CM under the title ‘Efficient implementation of Law and enhancement of powers of magistrates’. It has been suggested that 1130 officers and officials could be given powers of special magistrates. It has been suggested that 36 District Officers (Revenue), 135 Deputy District Officers (R), 135 Tehsildars (R), 537 Naib Tehsildars, 130 Tehsil Municipal Officer, 95 Tehsil Officers (Regulation) and 62 Chief Officers Headquarters and Non-HQs could be assigned additional powers.
These Magistrates would be given powers on ex-officio basis. It has been further recommended that these should be appointed as Special Magistrates for summary trials, and provided police force comprising four cops – headed by Upper Subordinate (one) ASI, while the latter would be duty bound to act upon magistrates’ order.
“It has been planned because of the fact that at present, pleas taken by judicial magistrates are only carried out as judicial duties, and they fall under the LHC. Secondly, the government is facing serious problems regarding price control, encroachment and other heads since the incumbent judicial magistrates are not doing spot-summary trials,” observed the officers, adding that the committee had given three options as well. First, it has been maintained that the actual solution to the problem is the restoration of the executive magistracy, which is only possible after amendment in the Penal code by the Federal Government. Secondly, in short run, there is a need to strengthen special magistrates, and given short term training and law awareness. Lastly, the creation of special courts under local and special laws could only be possible after amendment in 14-A of the CrPC. “Here the Punjab govt will not intervention of the Centre, and through this, the provincial dispensation can make matters easy for itself,” added the source.