Judges to be appointed in a month
The government may take an initiative to promote some High Court judges to the Appellate Division in a month, as the apex court has been going through a shortage of judges for more than two years.
“Certainly, the government has a plan to appoint some judges to the Appellate Division from among the High Court judges. The appointment might be made in a month,” Law Minister Anisul Huq told The Daily Star yesterday.
Earlier, he said the president, the prime minister and the chief justice would take the final decision about appointing judges to the apex court and it's they who know when the judges would be appointed.
The law minister, however, did not say why the vacant posts of Appellate Division judges were not filled.
Five out of 11 judges of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court have retired since 2013 but no new appointments have yet been made.
An SC source said Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha had asked the government to take a move to appoint some judges to the Appellate Division through promoting HC judges.
But the government has not apparently taken any initiative in this regard, the source said, adding that the president appoints HC judges and promotes them to the Appellate Division following recommendations of the chief justice.
The chief justice sends the recommendations to the president through the law ministry after the government requests the chief justice for recommendations.
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has long been demanding appointment of judges to the vacant posts for quick disposal of pending cases.
SCBA President Khandker Mahbub Hossain told this correspondent recently that there were some senior, skilled and experienced judges in the HC Division of the SC.
But the government was taking no initiatives to promote them to the Appellate Division considering that they would not become loyal to it (government), he claimed.
“I feel the government will promote the judges from the High Court Division after the senior and experienced judges retire,” Khandker Mahbub, also an adviser to the BNP chairperson, said.
Had four to five judges been appointed to the Appellate Division, three separate benches could have been constituted to dispose of a large number of cases quickly, he added.
The backlog of pending cases at the apex court, meanwhile, is increasing though the rate of case disposal has risen since a handful of judges are now left to handle a lot of cases and the filing of new cases has gone up as well.
According to SC reports, 15,545 cases were pending with the Appellate Division as of June 30 this year, up from 15,346 on December 31 last year.
The Appellate Division has disposed of 5,911 cases last year, 5,035 in 2013, 2,905 in 2012 and 1,359 in 2011, according to a report published in February this year.
The last time the SC saw new appointments was in March 2013 when four judges were appointed to the Appellate Division from the HC.
In 2009, the then president raised the number of judges at the Appellate Division from seven to 11 prior to the disposal of some important cases linked with the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the fifth constitutional amendment, among others.