Jurists at a discussion yesterday urged the government to strengthen local arbitration councils as they play a vital role in resolving family disputes locally, and comparatively faster than conventional legal proceedings.
They proposed to train relevant people of the council -- union parishad chairpersons, members, municipality mayors and councillors -- to formulate a mechanism to ensure accountability and make people aware about their services.
The proposals came from a discussion held by Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and Madaripur Legal Aid Association at The Daily Star Centre.
Arbitration councils are a mechanism of alternative dispute resolution, which exist in almost all local government bodies.
Speaking at the discussion, Justice AFM Abdur Rahman, former judge of High Court Division at the Supreme Court, said many chairpersons and local government representatives do not even know that such councils exist.
Mashiur Rahman Ranga, chief whip of the opposition at the parliament, alleged that many local government representatives cannot resolve disputes through the councils without being unbiased.
“The representatives are elected by citizens. When they resolve disputes, they often take the side of the party from whom they will get more votes,” said Ranga.
Fowzul Azim, chief research officer of Law Commission; Justice Nizamul Huq, former judge of High Court Division at the Supreme Court; Khan Md Shahid, chief coordinator of MLAA; and SM Rezaul Karim, a director of BLAST, also spoke at the programme.