The Public Criminal Prosecution Service (PCPS) which was created by the Government of Punjab in August 2005 is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police. However, due to some structural issues in the system of case management in criminal justice system, PCPS has not been able to ensure optimal efficiency. Lack of accountability and transparency are major obstacle in efforts to minimize delays in judicial proceedings and a huge pendency of backlogged cases in the criminal justice system of Pakistan. Moreover, the data is managed on physical files which are poorly archived. This problem arises from an archaic case management system that tracks cases through physical case files and archives which are extremely prone to data tampering, corruption by clerical staff, and damage through a lack of maintenance.
SolutionIt was proposed that the current system should be replaced with an effective case management and analytical oversight system which will in turn improve the overall efficiency and transparency in the criminal prosecution process. The design and application of our research focuses on two things. Firstly, on improving the capacities of the public prosecutor in the provision of criminal justice for defendants and accused persons. Secondly, to give meaningful analytical insights to monitoring judges of the Lahore High Court and regulators in the PCPS and enable them for more effective regulation and performance analysis in the lower judiciary in Punjab.
- The case details and material facts of the incident recorded by the FIR are delivered to the Prosecutor’s office.
- The prosecutor will operate the case management system who will catalogue all the details in it, not only when the incident occurred but when the FIR was delivered to the prosecutor.
- Our cataloging system is designed to provide the prosecutor with a field to set an expected date for the delivery of the Report 173 challan form, failure to do so will flag the delay for both the prosecutor and the monitoring judge to see.
- A completed or interim Report 173 Challan has to be submitted to the concerned prosecutor by the investigating police officer.
- Within 3 days of the Challan being submitted, the prosecutor has to scrutinize the evidence against procedural standards and regulations along with any shortcoming in the case to be presented at trial.
- The prosecutor has to certify that the accused person has not been physically remanded by the police for more than a total of 14 days, including extensions. Our case management system assigns fields for entering information on all these aspects.
- The final stage of the process is trial phase where the data cataloging duties are passed onto the presiding trial judge. Upon submission of the 173 Report to the court, the case file will appear on the presiding judge’s cause-list with details about the next hearing. In our model, the proceedings and orders of all trial hearings will be updated by the judges after every hearing in court.