Some 397 posts of lower court judges, including 51 district judges, are lying vacant due to delay in recruitment, hampering the judicial proceedings and leading to a huge backlog of cases.
More than 27 lakh cases are now pending with lower courts across the country, say Supreme Court sources.
The cases, which are supposed to be heard and disposed of by the courts of designated judges whose posts are vacant, are being handled by other judges as an additional task.
For this reason, the justice seekers have to wait a long, an SC top official told The Daily Star recently, requesting anonymity.
The official also said if the vacant posts of judges were fulfilled, the cases would be heard and settled quickly, the rate of disposal of cases would be increased and litigants would get relief to a large extent.
Contacted, Law Minister Anisul Huq told this correspondent that the government took initiatives to fill the vacancy of lower court judges, as the process of appointing 207 lower court judges was underway.
Wishing not to be named, a law ministry official said the Bangladesh Judicial Service Commission selected 207 candidates in March and recommended their appointment.
In April, the law ministry sent their particulars to the home ministry for police verification for judges' recruitment.
But the home ministry is yet to submit their verification reports to the law ministry, he said, adding that it usually takes a long time to conduct the police verification through the National Security Intelligence and the Special Branch of police.
The official also said the government would complete the recruitment process of the judges after getting their police verification reports.
According to SC sources, of the unfilled 397 posts, 51 are of district judges, 11 of joint district judges and 294 of assistant and senior assistant judges, judicial and senior judicial magistrates. Besides, 41 posts of woman and child courts were created by the government several months ago, but the judges concerned were not recruited.
There are 1,519 judges for the lower courts across the country. Of them, 122 are working on deputation under different ministries and 1,397 at courts, the sources added.
On average, a lower court judge is handling around 2,000 cases.
Over four lakh cases are pending with the SC's High Court Division, sources mentioned.
In a message on the occasion of the Judiciary Separation Day in October last year, Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha stressed the need for doubling the number of judges in the lower courts.