In Bangladesh, paperwork appears to thrive on misplaced priorities. A traditional instance is when undeserved and pointless promotions to secretary-level posts are readily authorised by the general public administration, however important appointments – of docs and judges, for instance – which have a direct bearing on the wellbeing of residents are placed on the again burner. A continuation of this tradition has been reported on the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court docket, which is dealing with a scarcity of judges. At the moment, there are solely 5 judges, together with the chief justice, who’re having to take care of upwards of 17,500 instances. That is 3,500 instances per head. Let that sink in.
We can not assist however surprise: Why would there be a decide disaster on the highest court docket of the nation? The legislation minister, when approached for feedback, had no reply to that past the usual appointing-judges-is-a-continuous-process response. One would count on a extra direct, affirmative response. This disaster, which is able to solely delay justice and thus improve struggling, comes towards a backdrop of an already big backlog of instances throughout the Supreme Court docket. On the Excessive Court docket Division, there are 95 judges in command of clearing a whopping 5.18 lakh pending instances. Anticipating so few judges to dispense so many instances is solely absurd.
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The scenario could worsen if proactive steps are usually not taken to shore up diminishing ranks on the Appellate Division, with two judges set to retire subsequent yr. Earlier, one of many judges died of Covid-19, one other retired, and a 3rd one has been on a protracted depart pending retirement, bringing down the overall from eight to 5 in lower than a yr. Specialists have expressed concern over the scenario, pointing to the truth that, with the prevailing judges, multiple full bench – for which three judges are wanted – could not be shaped. If two or three full benches might be constituted for the division, extra instances might be disposed of, they stated.
That is solely to be anticipated. The apex court docket already has a precedent of getting 11 judges at a time. On July 9, 2009, the then president of the nation raised the variety of judges from seven to 11, previous to the disposal of some vital instances together with these associated to the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the fifth modification to the structure. Based on one authorized observer, the gazette notification issued in 2009 to boost the variety of judges to 11 remains to be efficient, so there’s scope for appointment of 4 or 5 new judges. The abysmally excessive variety of unresolved instances – at each divisions of the Supreme Court docket, and in any respect tiers of courts within the nation – makes new appointments solely logical.
There is no such thing as a different to defending the elemental rights of residents to have a speedy trial. In addition to appointing new judges, ideally beneath a brand new legislation to control such appointments, it is usually vital to make sure finest use of current sources and take away procedural complexities to eliminate pending instances. The authorities should finish the struggling of justice-seekers.