Criminal Justice System of Pakistan

Case Study of Mst. Sughran Bibi versus The State

Academic Paper, 2020

27 Pages, Grade: A


The Criminal Justice System of Pakistan aims at instituting the principles of rule of law. Critically analyze this statement with reference to Sughran Bibi case.

The point of discussion of this paper is to have a detailed overview of the criminal justice system of Pakistan. It begins with the understanding of the criminal justice system as a general. I would briefly dilate upon several components that constitute and become part and parcel of the criminal justice system of Pakistan; and of course, the objectives of the criminal justice system. Also, this paper penned down the stages of crime. Principles arising out of various case laws related to the administration of justice have been provided. Also, the legal basis of the criminal justice system of Pakistan will be laid down. This paper will explain the landmark criminal case: Mst. Sughran Bibi v The State. I would not have done justice to the subject-matter of the case in hand had if I not touch the topic of F.I.R as this case has direct relevance to the concept of F.I.R. I would throw light upon the judgment with regard to the rule of law and its impact on the judicial system of Pakistan. Furthermore, it will be discussed how the current system is flawed. In addition to that this paper will do a comparison between criminal justice of Pakistan with developed states. In the end, it'll give a hand full of recommendations to reform the criminal justice system of Pakistan. Relevant case laws have been cited.



The criminal justice system is the set of laws and principles which are applied on convicted ones on their transgressions. It is one of the most important ingredients of any society in the world. It describes the offences, punishments, procedures and ways to punish those who violate laws of the society.

The criminal justice system in a country comprises of the legislature, the enforcement agencies, the courts and correctional services. Its basic objective is to provide protection to life and property of citizens and to ensure order in society. It has three main phases; investigation by police, trial by Courts, and execution by jail authorities. It stands upon three pillars: investigation, prosecution and trial.


The criminal justice system has many aims and objectives. It mainly aims at enforcing the criminal law, protecting the public by preventing and deterring crime, advising people how to avoid victimization, and, finally, an efficient and fair application of the law, ensuring the proper treatment of suspects, defendants, and those in custody. Above all, the prime objective of the criminal justice system is to ensure that the innocent are acquitted and that the guilty are punished; respecting the basic theme of criminal jurisprudence that no offence should go unpunished and no innocent should go to jail. We may safely say that the three main components of the criminal justice system are police, prosecution and courts. In the following paper, the Criminal Justice System of Pakistan will be discussed.



The entire criminal justice system in Pakistan is aimed at the judicial dispensation of criminal justice. It stands on three pillars:

i. The investigation,
ii. prosecution and
iii. trial.

Only by the appropriate and balanced working of these pillars and within the respective domain can the effective and smooth functioning of the system be possible.


The Courts in Pakistan work under. Under this system, the job of the Courts is only to decide whether the person accused of an offence is guilty or not. For instance, if a Court comes to conclude that a certain offence has been committed but the accused alleged of having committed so, does not prove to be the offender beyond a reasonable doubt, it is not for the Court to find the real culprit. The duty shall lie on police or the complainant as the case may be.

In adversarial proceedings, the parties play a dominant role. The onus of preparations of the proceedings is on the parties, and, the judge plays a passive role and functions like an umpire. As stated above, there are three main components of the criminal justice system are;

i. Police
ii. Prosecution
iii. Courts

i. Police

In this system, the investigation is undertaken by the police . It is believed that the police have a tendency to become psychologically committed to bringing home the guilt of their chosen suspect. In Lal Khan Versus SHO, Police Station Kotwali, Jhang 1, Lahore High Court stated the job of investigation is to

- spot inspection,
- ascertain facts and circumstances touching the offence under investigation,
- collect evidence and

ii. Prosecution

The prosecution is the agency which plays an intermediary role between the judiciary and the police. It is they who take the police"s case forward to the courts.

As per interpreted by courts, the job of prosecution is to;

- thoroughly scrutinize challans in connection with the arrest of the offenders,
- present the prosecution case in the Court,
- contest the claims of defence and ensure the observance of the provisions of law,
- guide the Investigation Officer to remove lacunas left, if any, during an investigation.2

iii. Court

The criminal court is the core of the criminal justice system. It preserves the “due process of law" throughout the arrest-to-release procedures in criminal justice. The job of the Court is to;

- initiate proceedings after a charge have been drawn up,
- give full information to the accused as to the offence he is charged with,
- convict the accused if his guilt is proven and acquit him if any reasonable doubt is created.3


The legal basis of the criminal justice system of Pakistan includes the Criminal Procedure Act of 1898 (CrPC) and Pakistan Penal Code 1860 (PPC) which lay out the foundations, procedures and functions of all components of the system starting from reporting of the case to police, its trial by courts, appeals and correction at jails.

The CrPC is the procedural law providing the mechanism to be followed in every investigation, inquiry and trial for every offence under the PPC or other substantive criminal law. It is divided into three stages: investigation, inquiry and trial.

1. Investigation includes all the proceedings under the Code for the collection of evidence by a police officer or by any person (other than a Magistrate), who is authorized by a Magistrate in this behalf.4
2. Inquiry consists of satisfaction of the facts a Magistrate either on receiving a police report or upon a complaint by any other person.5
3. Trial refers to a judicial proceeding which ends in conviction or acquittal.


The system has the following stages:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


There are many cardinal principles of the administration of criminal justice have been laid down by the higher courts through their judgements pronounced from time to time for the guidance of the subordinate courts. Few of them are given below:

1. “Prosecution has to succeed on its own merits. It has to prove case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt if any dent is created by the defence, it is to be resolved in favour of accused.”6
2. “It is cardinal rule of criminal law that an accused is presumed to be innocent until the prosecution proves its case against him beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt. If prosecution fails in its duty, which never shifts to defence, accused is entitled to benefit of doubt.”7
3. “Accused has no vested right to be tried by a particular Court. If bare reading of allegations levelled against him, prima facie make out a case to be tried by a Special Court to which it is sought to be transferred, then no exception can be taken to it. Any other interpretation would lead to an anomalous situation and would result in parallel proceedings.”8
4. “While deciding a criminal matter it is the quality and not quantity of the evidence which matters.”9
5. “Each criminal case would stand on its own footing. Facts and circumstances in one case could not be quite similar or on all fours towards the other.”10


Mst. Sughran Bibi versus The State

[PLD 2018 SC 595]

Principle of this case:

No FIR to be lodged for new version of the same incident.

So, before discussing the facts and judgment of the court, let me explain the concept of FIR and Second FIR in bit detail.


A First Information Report is a well-known technical description of a report under section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (V of 1898), giving first information of a cognizable offence.11 F.I.R. is usually made by the complainant or someone on his behalf. In cognizable offences, law is set in motion by virtue of lodging First Information Report. It is simply information for commission of an offence to move the concerned agency. It is not essential for complainant to give all details regarding commission of offence in F.I.R.12 As regards non-cognizable offence, when information is given to an In-charge of a Police Station of its commission, he shall enter in the prescribed book the substance of such information and refer the same to the Magistrate, seeking his permission to investigate it.


1 2010 P.Cr.L.J 182

2 2000 MLD 865

3 Berger v. US-295 US 78

4 Section 4(1)(l) of CrPC

5 Section 4(1)(k) of CrPC

6 Ahmad Saleem's case, 1997

7 2016 SCMR 28

8 PLD 2005 Lahore 470

9 Bao Saleem's case, 2008

10 Shamshada's case, 2004

11 AIR 1924 All 207

12 2000 P.Cr.L.J 602 (a)

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Criminal Justice System of Pakistan
Case Study of Mst. Sughran Bibi versus The State
Criminal Law
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ISBN (Book)
criminal law, criminal justice system, Pakistan, Case Study, Police, Prosecution, Analysis, Comparative study, Crimes, Stages of crime, ADVERSARIAL SYSTEM, courts, judiciary, judges, criminology, administration of justice, F.I.R, Rule of Law, Reforming criminal justice system
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Fatima Tariq (Author), 2020, Criminal Justice System of Pakistan, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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