Case backlog falls greatly
The case disposal rate at courts across the country increased remarkably last year as the Supreme Court authorities have taken some measures to update court and case management.
The gap between the numbers of cases filed and cases settled came down last year compared to that in previous years because of improvement in case disposal, according to an SC study published in the last week of January.
Earlier, the number of disposal of cases was less than that of filing of cases, SC sources said.
The apex court settled 9,992 cases last year and 5,911 in 2014.
Some 14,26,676 cases were settled at courts across the country last year. The figure was 13,04,544 in 2014.
The number of cases pending with the courts stood at 3,109,173 until December 31 last year, while those were 30,07,860 as of December 31, 2014, according to the SC study report.
Supreme Court Registrar General Syed Aminul Islam told The Daily Star recently that the case disposal rate had increased as the SC authorities led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha took some measures to reduce backlogs.
Now, many of the judges work even on holidays because of the motivation from the authorities, he said.
The SC authorities have asked the lower court judges to settle petty cases like motor vehicle related ones within a short time, the registrar general said.
Meanwhile, since taking over as chief justice in January last year, Sinha has visited courts in 25 districts to identify and solve problems, SC sources said.
He has given necessary directives to the lower court judges and talked to the local administrations for solving the problems. And that way some problems have been resolved, added the sources.
Shortage of courtrooms for judges was one of the main hurdles and steps were taken to solve this problem.
The SC authorities have taken initiatives so that the government constructs separate court buildings for the judicial magistrates, many of whom have to share courtrooms of other judges to hear and settle cases.
Only five districts have separate court buildings for judicial magistrates, according to sources.
The legal problems regarding the recruitment of support staff for the lower court judges have already been fixed, said the sources.
ABM Khairul Haque, law commission chairman and former chief justice, told this correspondent that at least 4,000 judges are required to deal with the current backlog of cases.
“But we have only around 1,600 posts for judges and some 400 of them are now vacant. This is very alarming," he said, claiming that Bangladesh has the highest rate of case disposal in the world.
Some 100-200 new judges should be appointed every year, said Justice Khairul.
“There's one judge for every 10,000 people in the USA and for 67,000 in India. But in Bangladesh, we have only one judge for more than 1 lakh people,” he mentioned.
Law ministry sources said the government has taken steps to recruit 400-500 lower court judges in phases.