Millions in backlog cases
We appreciate the comments made by Law Minister Anisul Huq recently that a high-powered committee will be set up to expedite the disposal of some 3.4 million cases stuck in the pipeline. We understand this committee will help investigators produce witnesses and complete investigations at shortened periods of time. It should be understood that this backlog has not come in a day but has built up over the years not just because of an acute shortage of judges in the Appellate Division but also the High Court. Although the government had introduced alternative dispute resolution system, it has not had the desired impact.
We must contend with the fact that beyond the shortage of judges, there are systemic problems related to the way in which our cases are prepared. With the backlog of cases growing by the day, those who seek justice must suffer for months, if not years to get a verdict. The law minister has ruled out separate courts to try drug-related cases but hinted at a new law. Now, with the war on drugs gathering momentum, we hope that the new law being mulled over will help shorten sentencing rather than prolong the situation. The most important reason of congestion of cases is the delay in resolving cases. Perhaps we should take lessons from other countries that have started introducing digitisation of the judicial system that could help in reducing the backlog i.e. introducing technology such as e-filing, efficient data entry and recovery, fewer data errors—procedures that would reduce our dependence on paperwork and help speed up the hearing of cases and maintain the integrity of court records.