Special panels to cut case backlog
With some 3.4 million cases pending with courts across the country, the government plans to form a high-powered committee for their speedy disposal, Law Minister Anisul Huq said yesterday.
The district judge, the deputy commissioner, the superintendent of police (SP) and other top officials of a district will be in the committee, styled District Case Coordination Committee.
"The committee will help investigators produce witnesses and complete investigations in the shortest possible time, thereby expediting the disposal of cases," the minister told journalists after meeting with the DCs on the concluding day of the three-day conference at the secretariat.
There are many reasons behind the huge case backlog; top among them are a lack of government initiatives and absence of witnesses, he added.
The government has already taken some steps, including appointing several judges and introducing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system for easing this backlog, but with little impact, sources in the law ministry said.
Regarding disposal of drug-related cases, the minister ruled out the formation of any separate courts, but said the government would make a new law, if needed.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan asked the DCs to work properly for a free and fair election.
He told the DCs that law enforcement agencies were ready to maintain law and order during the national election. “We have already provided them with sufficient manpower and logistics.”
The issue of grabbing of government land again came up in the conference yesterday. As several DCs raised the issue, Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sherif asked them to reclaim the land.
Different government and private organisations, influential quarters and political parties have been occupying government land all over the country.
Of them, nearly 4,000 acres of railway land is under the occupation of various quarters, according to rail ministry sources.
When a journalist pointed out that many ruling party offices have been built on government land, the minister termed the allegation baseless.
He, however, said he instructed the DCs to remain alert so government land could not be grabbed using political clout.
The land grabbing issue was discussed in Wednesday's sessions as well, where the railway and environment ministers directed the DCs to evict the grabbers.
The government will build multi-storey buildings for its employees in all divisional cities and districts, Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain said in response to the DCs demand.
Apart from building residential apartment complexes in Dhaka, an initiative was taken to construct 1,260 flats in Chittagong, he said.
During the conference, DCs sought more magistracy power so that they could effectively tackle crimes and maintain law and order ahead of the polls.
They also demanded protection against contempt charges and an end to the government policy to consider intelligence reports for promotion and transfer of government officials.
The annual conference began at the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday, when Hasina asked the DCs to take tough action against extortion, muscle power, terrorism and drug abuse.
“You don't need to look at who belongs to which party and who does what ... just go for action,” she said.
On Wednesday, the second day of the conference, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader asked them not to do anything that could embarrass the government, while also asking them not to give in to pressure.