CHIEF Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was right when he said the police's attention to public grievances and their quick redressal would not only help the common man get easy access to justice, but also reduce the workload on courts. The Supreme Court Registrar sent a letter on Tuesday, on behalf of the Chief Justice, to the inspectors general of police and prisons of all the four provinces directing them to ensure that citizens and prisoners were treated in a civilized manner and their complaints were immediately resolved. There is no disputing the fact that efficient policing can play a crucial role in the maintenance of peace and tranquility in society as the victim or the aggrieved first interact with the police. It is understandable that prompt registration of FIRs and submission of challans can lead to the quick disposal of cases by the courts. But at the same time, the Chief Justice must be aware of the anxiety that has come to characterize the judiciary in dispensing justice to the aggrieved. The underlying theme of issuing instructions to the provincial police chiefs might have been to warn them against killing the accused in fake encounters rather than properly investigating the cases and referring them to the courts. This practice, going on in the Punjab for some time, gives the lie to the provincial government's claims of good governance. But the fact that illegal arrests and extrajudicial killings continue with impunity is also a reflection on our judicial system. It points to the administration's lack of trust and confidence in the courts. The judiciary, that is meant to serve as the custodian and protector of the fundamental rights of the citizen, has not been performing its basic constitutional function. Corruption at the level of the lower courts is probably the biggest factor causing an inordinate delay in the disposal of cases. The huge monetary incentives to the subordinate judiciary in the Punjab do not seem to have worked at all to improve its working. It is good to see the CJ take suo motu cognizance of unlawful acts of government. But it is time he also focused his attention on refurbishing the judiciary. The trend of delay in legal processes and dispensation of justice by the courts, that gives rise to disturbing questions in the public mind about the efficacy of the judicial system, must be immediately reversed. It bears repeating that efforts for establishing the rule of law cannot succeed without purging the judiciary of corrupt and inefficient elements, in whose presence influential culprits will continue to get off scot-free for lack of evidence.