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Over 14,000 cases pending with SC

Bangladesh on 17 October 2013
Location : Bangladesh | Source : New Age

Litigants continue to suffer as more than 14,000 cases were pending with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.    

Sources in the Supreme Court said that 4,700 cases, of which 400 are appeal matters, had been fixed earlier for hearing on different dates but the cases were yet to be disposed of.

The Appellate Division could hardly take up new cases, which came to it in 2012 and 2013, for hearing unless it involves matter of public importance, they said.       

They said that the apex court is now taking up cases up to the years of 2011 for hearing either in November or December. 

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Rafique-Ul Huq suggested that the chief justice should constitute three Appellate Division benches to expedite disposal of pending cases as the number of Appellate judges are nine.

There are now two benches in the Appellate Division—one headed by the chief justice and another by Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana.

The bench led by Justice Naznun Ara Sultana was created in April when the first ever war appeal in the war crimes case against Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla came to the Appellate Division for disposal.

Rafique said that all judges should read every case before hearing for quick disposal. He also called for changing the present process regarding disposal of cases and suggested introduction of American system for quick disposal of pending cases.

The backlog of cases was 16,647 as of December 2012, the number was 14,429 on September 30, 2013, according to a senior officer of the Supreme Court. 

According to the Supreme Court’s annual report 2011, the number of pending cases was over 2.79 lakh with the High Court and 12,441 with the Appellate Division as on December 2011.

Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik said that the rate of disposal clearly depends on the leadership role of the chief justice. 

‘The fact that the chief justice, in addition to his administrative duties, also sits to hear cases everyday, said Shahdeen, adding. ‘It would have been better if the chief justice focuses more on the administrative matter and let the cases be decided by other judges. 

He said that the chief justice should immediately constitute another bench to reduce the backlog of cases.

‘If the rate of disposal is not increased people may lose confidence in the highest court,’ he added.  

Lawyer Md Khurshid Alam Khan told New Age that an appeal, filed in 2002, relating to a land dispute in Rajbari was yet to be heard. The matter was taken up first in October for hearing by the bench led by Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana but the hearing could not be held as opposite party’s lawyer, Mahbubey Alam, who is also the attorney general, sought an adjournment, saying he was busy in dealing with war crimes case appeals. 

The appeal was filed challenging a High Court judgment, delivered on August 14, 2002, that had affirmed a decree by a court of additional district judge in Rajbari passed on February 2, 1998 reversing the decree passed by a sub judge in Rajbari regarding possession of 17 decimal of land in Rajbari. 

Original plaintiff of the land dispute case was Golapjan Bibi, who died on September 29, 2012 due to old age complication. The appeal was filed against the High Court verdict which ruled in favour of Golapjan. 

Two grandsons and two granddaughters of Golapjan who bear the cost of the case at the Appellate Division as successors, told New Age that they had paid Tk 50,000 in different phases to lawyer Khurshid Alam although the hearing is yet to be held.

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