Department of Huquq - Ministry of Justice

Department of Huquq

According to historical records the current Department of Huqooq was initially established within the Ministry of Justice in 1300 Hijri and named the Directorate of Huqooq (rights). Baba Mohammad Sarwar Khan “Barakzai” was the first Minister of Justice appointed by the government at the time.

The judicial organ operated within the framework of the Ministry of Justice. Legal decisions were reported to the Huqooqiyah Directorate. For example, the 1369 Darul-Qaza, authored by Mr. Wakiluddin “Popalzai”, supports this fact.

The purpose for the establishment of the Huqooqiyah Directorate was to facilitate the adjudication of disputes and civil right cases arising between citizens and real and legal persons; to follow-up on those cases; and to effectuate resolution through tribal elders, or patriarchs, and chiefs. The resolution of said disputes were in the form of reconciliation and/or referrals to the courts in order for the cases to be equitably settled. Further, the objective behind the creation of this directorate was to preempt and prevent ethnic, tribal, and family disputes as well as to promote the maintenance of public order in the country.

With the passage of time and the increase in caseload including legal, civil, and family disputes, the organizational structure of the Huqooqiyah Directorate underwent review and reorganization as a way to better solve claims arising out of legal cases, including debts, property, and personal status. As a result, the directorate was renamed the General Directorate of Huqooq (rights). However, sub-directorates of Huqooq existed in the provinces and operated independent of the courts under the supervision of Kabul’s General Directorate of Huqooq. In 1343, under the government of His Majesty King Mohammad Zahir Shah (now known as The Father of the Nation), the Law on the Acquisition of Rights, was drafted by the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Legislation and signed into law by His Majesty, and finally published in the Official Gazette and enforced. The law continues to be applied today.

The General Department of Huqooq in Kabul has a well-organized professional and administrative staff. In the provinces, organization of the department is based on population size and workload of the relevant province. Legal cases are typically resolved at the district or central provincial level based on the proofs and evidences presented by the parties to the dispute. In cases the resolution and/or proofs and evidences were insufficient, the cases were referred to the courts.

The caseload in the provinces and in Kabul grew and the government decided to improve the ‘good governance’ by instituting reforms in the administrative and civil services. As a result, the Administrative Reforms and Civil Service Commission was established. With the assistance of this commission, the government was able to implement civil institution reforms. Presently, the Ministry of Justice is undergoing such a reform process. The professional and administrative organization and hierarchy was determined based on the needs of the society. The organization and hierarchy of the Ministry of Justice was prepared in consultation with the Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission after approval by the Council of Ministers. The reform process was approved by the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The General Department of Huqooq was subject to this reform process. This department has large and well-organized braches in the provinces and districts of the country.

The General Department of Huqooq operates in Kabul per the terms of reference specified by the leadership of the Ministry and approved by the Minister of Justice. According to these terms of reference, the department settles disputes arising out of debts, properties, and family of real and legal persons pursuant to the Civil Procedure Code and the Law on the Acquisition of Rights. The Departments of Huqooq in the provinces and the sub-directorates of Huqooq in the districts operate their functions according to specific terms of reference in accordance with the above-referenced laws. A report of their activities is sent to the Ministry on a quarterly basis. After reviewing the reports of the General Directorates of Huqooq the Ministry summarizes the reports and submits them to the Department of Correspondence who presents the reports to the Council of Ministers.

It is worth mentioning that the Huqooq department provides substantial revenues to the treasury of the state as a result of the legal cases and is considered a major support for the budget of the state. In fact, the General Directorates of Huqooq are self-sufficient and does not rely on the state’s budget.

 

Report on the History, Time and Scope of Work and Establishment of the Department of Huqooq

Introduction to the Department of Huqooq (Rights):

According to historical records, the current Department of Huqooq was initially established within the Ministry of Justice in 1300 Hijri and named the Directorate of Huqooq (rights). Baba Mohammad Sarwar Khan “Barakzai” was the first Minister of Justice appointed by the government at the time.

The judicial organ operated within the framework of the Ministry of Justice. Legal decisions were reported to the Huqooqiyah Directorate. For example, the 1369 Darul-Qaza, authored by Mr. Wakiluddin “Popalzai”, supports this fact. The purpose for the establishment of the Huqooqiyah Directorate was to facilitate the adjudication of disputes and civil right cases arising between citizens and real and legal persons; to follow-up on those cases; and to effectuate resolution through tribal elders, or patriarchs, and chiefs. The resolution of said disputes were in the form of reconciliation and/or referrals to the courts in order for the cases to be equitably settled. Further, the objective behind the creation of this directorate was to preempt and prevent ethnic, tribal, and family disputes as well as to promote the maintenance of public order in the country.

With the passage of time and the increase in caseload including legal, civil, and family disputes, the organizational structure of the Huqooqiyah Directorate underwent review and reorganization as a way to better solve claims arising out of legal cases, including debts, property, and personal status. As a result, the directorate was renamed the General Directorate of Huqooq (rights). However, sub-directorates of Huqooq existed in the provinces and operated independent of the courts under the supervision of Kabul’s General Directorate of Huqooq. In 1343, under the government of His Majesty King Mohammad Zahir Shah (now known as The Father of the Nation), the Law on the Acquisition of Rights, was drafted by the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Legislation and signed into law by His Majesty, and finally published in the Official Gazette and enforced. The law continues to be applied today.

The General Department of Huqooq in Kabul has a well-organized professional and administrative staff. In the provinces, organization of the department is based on population size and workload of the relevant province. Legal cases are typically resolved at the district or central provincial level based on the proofs and evidences presented by the parties to the dispute. In cases the resolution and/or proofs and evidences were insufficient, the cases were referred to the courts. The caseload in the provinces and in Kabul grew and the government decided to improve the ‘good governance’ by instituting reforms in the administrative and civil services. As a result, the Administrative Reforms and Civil Service Commission was established. With the assistance of this commission, the government was able to implement civil institution reforms. Presently, the Ministry of Justice is undergoing such a reform process. The professional and administrative organization and hierarchy was determined based on the needs of the society. The organization and hierarchy of the Ministry of Justice was prepared in consultation with the Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission after approval by the Council of Ministers. The reform process was approved by the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The General Department of Huqooq was subject to this reform process. This department has large and well-organized braches in the provinces and districts of the country.

The General Department of Huqooq operates in Kabul per the terms of reference specified by the leadership of the Ministry and approved by the Minister of Justice. According to these terms of reference, the department settles disputes arising out of debts, properties, and family of real and legal persons pursuant to the Civil Procedure Code and the Law on the Acquisition of Rights. The Departments of Huqooq in the provinces and the sub-directorates of Huqooq in the districts operate their functions according to specific terms of reference in accordance with the above-referenced laws. A report of their activities is sent to the Ministry on a quarterly basis. After reviewing the reports of the General Directorates of Huqooq the Ministry summarizes the reports and submits them to the Department of Correspondence who presents the reports to the Council of Ministers.

It is worth mentioning that the Huqooq department provides substantial revenues to the treasury of the state as a result of the legal cases and is considered a major support for the budget of the state. In fact, the General Directorates of Huqooq are self-sufficient and does not rely on the state’s budget.

 

Terms of Reference for the General Directorates of Huqooq

  • Improve coordination of the affairs of the General Department of Huqooq.
  • Inspect and control units within this department.
  • Examine the work plans of different units within the General Department of Huqooq.
  • Cooperate in the preparation of a work plan for the new unit of the Department of Huqooq (Public Legal Awareness).
  • Submit quarterly and annual reports to the officials of the Ministry.
  • Instruct, assist, and examine the affairs of all units within this department.
  • Inspect regional offices.
  • Participate in the administrative and leadership meetings of the Ministry.
  • Listen to the complaints of customers.
  • Call for the presence of the related documents in case of complaints.
  • Sign letters and various proposals.
  • Participate in the meetings of the other government institutions as deemed necessary by the officials of the Ministry of Justice.
  • Assign the representative of the General Department of Huqooq in joint delegations.
  • Introduce the representatives of the Huqooq department to workshops, seminars and overseas scholarships.
  • Take necessary measures for organizing and holding seminars and workshops to improve the capacities of the staff of the departments of Huqooq.
  • Determine those applications for the time period of expiration, filing, and archival.
  • Permit members to express their views and ideas over the related documents.
  • Issue recommendations to associates for better managing affairs.
  • Perform other tasks.

 

Duties of the Deputy (Head of Huqooq Department):

  • Foster improved coordination of the affairs related to the General Department of Huqooq per instructions from the head of the Department.
  • Inspect and control units within this department per the instructions of the head of the department.
  • Timely execute related tasks.
  • Prepare reports of activities of the Department of Huqooq and submitted to the officials of the Ministry of Justice.
  • Instruct and assist all units within this department.
  • Participate in administrative and leadership meetings in the absence of the head of the Department.
  • Provide advice to experts on civil rights.
  • Responsible for carrying out the tasks of the head in their absence.

 

Directorate of the Board of Civil Rights Experts:

Committee of Properties

  • Consider petitions related to property disputes according to the provisions of the law.
  • Provide opinions and report on cases involving property disputes.
  • Study and examine the cases related to the property disputes sent from the provinces for further consideration.
  • Members of the Committee participate in the implementation and enforcement of the legal documents and court decisions.
  • Members of the Committee participate in the investigation of property cases in the provinces and districts.
  • Encourage the parties to the disputes to settle property related cases in compliance with the law.
  • Participate in legal meetings and seminars held within the property committee.
  • Instruct and mentor participants of the Stage course.
  • Perform other tasks as assigned by authorized officials.

 

Committee for debts and commercial issues

  • Consider petitions filed on cases related to debts and commercial issues.
  • Acquire the rights of the creditor according to the law.
  • Encourage the parties to the dispute to settle and attend settlement conferences.
  • File reports and provide opinions concerning debts and commercial cases.
  • Participate in delegations for selling debtor’s assets.
  • Participate in meetings and seminars.
  • Confirm that tithe (duty) is collected and reported to the head of the Department.
  • Instruct and assist participants of the Stage course.
  • Perform tasks as assigned by authorized officials.

 

Family Committee

  • Consider petitions related to family issues.
  • Encourage parties to settle.
  • Participate in meetings and seminars.
  • Examine cases concerning family dispute.
  • File reports and provide opinions on family cases.
  • Perform tasks assigned by authorized officials.

 

Directorate of the Board of Instructors of Civil Rights Educations:

Objectives of the Huqooq Office of the Ministry of Justice

Without respect for rights justice and security may not be attained. In order to achieve this goal the Huqooq department has been established within the organization of the Ministry of Justice and its branches operate in the capital and centers of the provinces and district of the country to pursue the following goals:

  • Publicize legal information as a way to promote public legal awareness.
  • Secure the rights of those entitled to properties of individuals infringed by power holders and opportunists during the decades-long war and resultant insecurity in the country. Provide restitution for such properties based on the documents proving entitlement and ownership by the true owner, and prevent trespassers from recapturing them constitute the prime objectives of the Huqooq office.
  • Provide restitution for the assets and properties of homeless refugees and reclaim sold properties on the basis of fake deeds and documents during their absence.
  • Provide restitution of residential and commercial areas under lease and which the lessee does not want to vacate and submit to the original owner.
  • Promote the rights of creditors from debtors according to the law.
  • Prevent illegal marriages and marriages that conflict with Islamic Sharia.
  • Prevent marriages between the individual lacking legal capacity and marriages arranged to settle disputes and to sacrifice girls for the crimes committed by others.
  • Determine the rights of widows through an order of a competent court.
  • Prevent all types of discrimination and violence against the women.
  • Acquire the maintenance Nafaqa from Maharims (the intimate relatives specified by Sharia Law) in case their husbands are absent or fail to support them.
  • Entrust minor and destitute children for guardianship to those who are entitled to provide care giving functions.
  • Safeguard the properties and assets of real and legal persons.

On the way towards achieving the aforementioned goals there exists a number of problems:

  • It is said that it is better to be a bread beggar then a place beggar. The department of Huqooq does not have an appropriate place for carrying out its duties effectively.
  • Most of the legal cases are resolved in the police offices of the Huqooq departments within some of the ministries in contradiction to the laws of the country.
  • For implementation and execution of the court orders, the police headquarters demand a representative, whereas pursuant to the article 24, 25 – 30 of the Law of the Acquisition of the Rights, this demand falls within the specific jurisdiction of the Huqooq offices.