To reduce social tension, Chairman of Bangladesh Law Commission, Justice A B M Khairul Haque has called on the Government of Bangladesh to appoint retired Judges on contract basis which will help reduce the back-log of civil cases.
Justice Khairul, who is also a former Chief Justice of Bangladesh made the call during a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-organized seminar on “Timely Disposal of Civil Suits: Challenges and Way Forward” held in Cox’s Bazar on 18 November 2019. He also recommended providing a standard honorarium for mediators; increasing remuneration of public prosecutors; weekly monitoring of court diaries by District judges and initiating a digital case tracking system at subordinate and the Supreme Court levels through the support of UNDP amongst others.
According to him, “The Code of Civil Procedure was well drafted. The problem is with the enforcers. For a better trial system, Judges should carefully go through case records before hearing starts and should announce the date for next hearing in open court in order to discourage manipulation and corruption by court staff”.
On the backdrop of the influx of Rohingyas into Cox’s Bazar, social tension is gradually rising between Rohingya and host community resulting in the possibility of increase of cases both in criminal and civil courts which will be an additional burden to the more than 21,000 civil suits already pending in the Cox’s Bazar District Courts.
UNDP Cox’s Bazar Crisis Response Office, under the Community Recovery and Resilience Project (C2RP,) organized the seminar as a fall-out from the Judicial conference held on November 2, 2019 at Cox’s Bazar District Court in collaboration with C2RP in which it was recommended to have discussions on causes of delay in disposal of civil suits and cases, to support both the bar and bench of Cox’s Bazar to expeditiously dispose civil matters.
In his opening remarks, Trevor D. Clark, Head of UNDP Cox’s Bazar Crisis Response Office said, “UNDP as a body does not interfere in judicial processes but can support the Judiciary by bringing together some of the best minds to discuss ways in ensuring timely disposal of civil suits for fairness and timely access to justice”.
Other judges and lawyers at the seminar recommended enforcement of the current Section 89A , 89 B, 89C, 89D and 89E which made mandatory to resolve cases through mediation and entrusted District Legal Aid Officer to resolve the cases following the rules; Increase in the number of judges in the District Judiciary; Better pay for process servers; Enforcing recommended number of days for resolution of cases in order to discourage indiscriminate adjournments; Infrastructure development so that civil and criminal cases can be heard in different courts at the same time, etc.
The seminar which was attended by over 12 judges including the District and Sessions Judge and Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, about 30 lawyers, Journalist and other stakeholders, explored reasons for case backlogs and the obstacles in exercising legal provisions in ensuring timely disposal of civil matters