One judge, 2,000 cases | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 09, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:36 AM, September 09, 2017

One judge, 2,000 cases

Lower courts hamstrung by judge shortage

Each lower court judge, on average, is overburdened with around 2,000 cases for their hearing and disposal.

A total of 1,397 judges have been dealing with more than 27.5 lakh cases across the country.

Sources at the Supreme Court and the law ministry attributed such a huge case backlog to shortage of judges, stemmed out from delays in the recruitment of new judges.

The appellate and the high court divisions of the apex court have also been facing shortage of judges due to retirement and deaths of some judges in the last couple of months.

The backlog of cases is growing every day, causing immense sufferings to justice seekers.

Against such a backdrop, the government has taken initiatives to recruit new lower courts judges in phases through Bangladesh Judicial Service Commission (BJSC). A process for appointment of 207 judges is underway, according to law ministry sources.

Many assistant judges and judicial magistrates would be promoted if the 207 judges were recruited to lower courts, Additional Registrar of the HC Md Sabbir Faiz told The Daily Star.

This would also see disposal of more cases and ease in litigants' sufferings, he added.

SC sources said a total of 397 posts of lower court judge currently remain vacant.     

Requesting anonymity, a law ministry official said the BJSC in March had picked 207 candidates through a comprehensive recruitment process which included a preliminary test, written and viva voce exams. It recommended that the law ministry appoint them as lower court judge.

The following month, the law ministry sent its documents to the home ministry for police verification. But the ministry was yet to send the police verification reports, he told this correspondent.

The official said the government would complete the recruitment process upon receiving the police verification reports. 

Talking to The Daily Star last night, Law Minister Anisul Huq said the police verification was taking time as the law enforcers were doing the job alongside carrying out their regular duties.

Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha on October 31 last year in a message on the occasion of the Separation of Judiciary Day had stressed the need for doubling the number of lower court judges.

“The number of approved posts of judges for the lower courts is 1,655, of which 387 are now vacant. It is not possible for 1,268 [the then number] judges to dispose of more than 27 lakh cases pending with the courts across the country,” the CJ said.

The Law Commission in September, 2014 had recommended recruiting 3,000 judges for lower courts for quick disposal of cases and easing the sufferings of justice seekers.

Meanwhile, SC sources said the number judges at the Appellate Division of the apex court came down to six from 11 after the retirement of Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, the first-ever female judge of the SC.

The HC has also been facing shortage of judges following retirement and death of some other judges. The number of HC judges now stands at 86, down from 100 in June 2012.

The six judges at the Appellate Division of the SC have been dealing with over 13,000 cases. On the other hand, 86 HC judges are overseeing more than 4.31 lakh cases.

The law minister in July had told The Daily Star that the government had a plan to promote some HC judges to the Appellate Division and appoint some new judges to the HC.

However, the government is yet to do so.

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