CJP Umar Ata Bandial 'Most Prolific' Judge In Supreme Court

CJP Umar Ata Bandial 'Most Prolific' Judge In Supreme Court
Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial has been shown to be the most hardworking, prolific judge of the court, disposing of over a whopping 8000 cases.

This was disclosed in data released by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a 'performance' report of judges and the court.

The data showed that on February 2, 2022, some 54,706 cases were pending in the court. Over the next 12 months, some 20,727 cases were filed. In this period, some 22,843 cases were disposed of (excluding 185 cases restored for hearing and 1,263 cases converted into appeals).

By February 1, 2023, some 52,590 cases were pending, lowering pendency of cases by 2,116 cases.

Top case adjudicator

According to the data, Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial decided an astronomical 8,796 cases in a year at a staggering average of 36 cases daily.

Second on that list was Justice Ijazul Ahsan, who disposed of 4,664 cases.

Justice Sardar Tariq Masood was third with 3,126 cases, and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was fourth with 1,720 cases. He was followed by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah with 1,431 cases.

The next chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Qazi Faez Isa, decided 1,323 cases in this period.

What is missing in the data

Some journalists and court reports said that the data did not account for when the cases were assigned, what were their nature, how many members were part of the bench, and how long it takes on average to dispose of a case.

It is unknown how many time-barred cases (which expire or can be disposed of after a certain time passes) were assigned to which judge, whether bulk-class action lawsuits are assigned, which can see multiple cases disposed of in a single judgement.

Moreover, it is unknown what kind of cases are being assigned to other judges or whether they are cases that would bog down the judges.

Court reporter Hasnaat Malik stated that usually, from what they had seen over the years, each judge had a maximum of 20 cases affixed to adjudicate daily.

It was Justice Masood whose bench oversaw as many as 25 - 30 cases a day.

CJP Bandial's bench usually adjudicated 15-20 cases a day. This year, he said, CJP Bandial would sit in courts from 9:30 am to 11 am and, after the morning break, would rarely attend a court hearing - unless it is a special case - and would be engrossed in chamber work.

Malik said that since the CJP is the master of the roster and can manage it well.

He further asked questions about the tabulation of the data, noting that since most of the cases in the Supreme Court are heard by benches comprising multiple judges, should decisions of all these benches be put in the column for presiding judges alone?

Malik further asked the data does not show how many cases were decided in a timely manner. Moreover, it is not known how many judgements were further challenged.