A full bench of Supreme Court's Appellate Division began judicial functions virtually from today after four months, to hear and dispose of urgent cases.
The six-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, began proceedings at 10:00am and continued till 1:15pm.
At the beginning of the court proceedings, the chief justice said the virtual court system needs to be taken forward.
The bench of the Appellate Division will operate judicial functions on Mondays and Thursdays.
If the virtual proceedings work successfully, the apex court bench will operate five working days later, he said.
Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain extended a note of thanks to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Law Minister Anisul Huq for taking necessary measures to convert the Usage of Information and Communication Technology in Court 2020 into a permanent law allowing the courts of country to run judicial functions virtually, Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan, a Supreme Court lawyer, who attended the virtual court proceedings, told The Daily Star.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and Supreme Court Bar Association President Advocate AM Amin Uddin also welcomed the apex court for beginning the virtual court proceedings.
Today, the Appellate Division heard and disposed of two cases although 20 cases were included in the cause list, said Khurshid, who is also the editor of Dhaka Law Reports.
The regular activities of courts need to reopen strictly following the health guidelines for the interest of lawyers and litigants, he added.
More than 90 percent lawyers cannot connect to the virtual court proceedings and therefore, they cannot provide services to the litigant people, he opined.
The chief justice on July 12 has decided to run virtual proceedings at the Appellate Division, strictly following health guidelines.
The last time a full bench of the Appellate Division had conducted proceedings was on March 12. The SC's Appellate and High Court divisions then went on an annual vacation.
The chief justice declared a general holiday for all courts across the country from March 26 due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Justice Md Nuruzzaman, an Appellate Division judge, has been holding hearings and disposing of cases as the division's chamber judge throughout the period.
On July 8, the chief justice at a full court meeting decided to continue running virtual functions of the Appellate and HC divisions until the situation improves.
The meeting decided that the chief justice will constitute at least four to five division benches of the HC, so they can act with judicial powers like that of regular division benches.
Justice Mahmud will increase single judge benches of the HC from the existing 13 to hear and dispose of more cases.
Al this will be done upon ensuring necessary logistical support, including internet and server facilities.
The chief justice also decided to assign all judges of the HC division to conduct virtual court functions by rotation.