Salient points of Legal Reforms introduced by the Government
1. The Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Ordinance, 2019.*
• Currently upon the death of an individual, the legal heirs languish in courts for years before they are able to obtain succession certificates.
• Under this law NADRA shall be authorized to issue succession certificates when there is no dispute amongst the legal heirs within 15 days.
• NADRA shall be authorized to issue succession certificates when there is no dispute amongst the legal heirs within 15 days.
• NADRA shall establish or notify any of its offices, domestic or abroad, as Succession Facilitation Unit(s) (SFU) to facilitate applicants for obtaining succession certificates.
• In case of dispute, the matter will be decided by the civil courts.
• This law will also prevent fraudulent practice.
• The proposed mechanism shall considerably reduce the burden on the Courts.
*2. The Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Ordinance, 2019.*
• This law shall protect and secure the rights of ownership and possession of women in properties.
• The Ombudsman has the power to receive complaints of women deprived of ownership or possession of properties.
• Ombudsman shall pass corrective orders under law and direct the Deputy Commissioner or any state functionary including the police to restore the possession or ownership.
• The complaints could be made by women directly or by her representative or NGOs of the Ombudsman can take suo moto notice.
*3. The Legal Aid and Justice Authority Ordinance.*
• Legal Aid and Justice Authority for whole of Pakistan shall be established.
• The Authority shall provide legal, financial or other assistance and access to justice to the poor and vulnerable segments of the society in criminal cases.
• Disadvantaged women and children will be given preference by the Authority.
• Apart from the provision of legal aid, the Ordinance also facilitates the extension of financial facilities such as provision of bail surety, fine and penalty amounts to the poor people
*4. Superior Courts (Court Dress and Mode of Address) Order (Repeal) Ordinance 2019*
• Article 191 and 202 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan empowers the Supreme Court and High Courts to make rules in order to regulate their practice and procedure.
• Through the said Ordinance the President’s Order No.15 of 1980 shall be repealed and matters relating to Court dress and mode of address to judges will be regulated by the Superior Courts.
*5. The Benami Transaction (Prohibition) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019.*
• Through this Ordinance definition of the term “whistleblower” has been inserted.
• Whistleblower includes a person, entity, or an agency who files a complaint under any law for the time being in force of otherwise gives information under Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 2017 (V of 2017), with regard to the existence of any property held as benami in relation to the commission of offences:-
a. of corruption and corrupt practices under the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, 1999;
b. of a scheduled offence under Federal Investigation Agency Act, 1974;
c. Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010;
d. Under the Securities Act, 2015 in relation to public listed companies;
e. Cognizable under the Federal and Provincial anti-corruption laws.
*6. The National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019.*
• Through this Ordinance amendment in the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 has been made.
• The amendment provides that any person arrested under the provisions of NAB Ordinance for any offence involving any amount above fifty million rupees shall be entitled to “C” class or equivalent only in the prison irrespective of the stage of inquiry, investigation or trial.
*7. Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019.*
• A new concept of 2 tier system has been introduced which will reduce 30/40 years period of civil litigation to maximum of 2 years.
• Two different civil judges will hear the case. The main case would be heard by one judge and stay and other miscellaneous applications by the other judge.
• The judge conducting the trial would be able to conduct spot checks for a just adjudication of the case.
• For process of summons/notices to the defendants modern devices shall be utilized for affecting service.
• Multiple tiers of appeals and revision have been reduced to one Appeal to the High Court.
*8. The Whistleblower Protection and Vigilance Commission Ordinance, 2019.*
• Under this law Whistleblower Protection and Vigilance Commission shall be established.
• The whistleblower could provide information to an independent Commission regarding corruption and corrupt practices.
• The Commission, after assessing the information, would forward the same to NAB, FIA (including complaints regarding money laundering), SECP (pertaining to public listed companies), Federal and Provincial anti-corruption departments.
• The whistleblower will be offered protection from dismissal or removal from office, disciplinary proceedings, threat, intimidation etc.
• The Commission will become the complainant before the authorities, keeping the identity of the whistleblower confidential with a view to afford protection to the whistle blower.
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