Cases pile up at SC
The Appellate Division of Supreme Court has been experiencing a shortage of judges as five posts have remained vacant since November 2, 2012 and no new judge was appointed to it in more than 20 months.
The deficiency has resulted in an increasing backlog of cases, causing sufferings to litigants.
Against 11 posts, this court is now operating with six judges in a single bench, while it requires at least three to form a bench. The number of High Court judges is now 97.
A total of 16,647 cases were pending with the Appellate Division till December 31, 2012 after disposal of 94 cases that month. The pending figure was 16,219 in November 2012, SC sources said.
In recent years, tax and customs related cases were being filed more frequently with the Appellate Division.
The number of pending cases until May 31, 2012 was 14,474. In that month, 585 cases were registered while 131 were disposed of.
A total of 2,94,978 cases were pending with the HC till November 30, 2012, after 5,505 cases were filed, 33 revived and 2,874 disposed of in that month. In October 2012, the pending figure was 2,92,313, added the sources.
Law Minister Shafique Ahmed recently told The Daily Star that the government would start the paperwork on the appointment of judges to the Appellate Division if the chief justice took any initiative in this regard.
An SC high official requesting anonymity said the chief justice would take steps if the law ministry sends him a proposal to this effect.
The government has not requested the chief justice to recommend names of judges from the HC, he said.
As per the constitution, the president appoints judges to the Appellate and High Court Divisions of SC as per the chief justice's recommendations. The law ministry executes the process of appointments.
After assuming power on January 6, 2009, the present government appointed 10 judges to the Appellate Division and 61 judges to the High Court Division.
On July 9, 2009, the president raised the number of posts of Appellate Division judges from 7 to 11, prior to disposing of some important cases including one over Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's murder and another on the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
The Supreme Court Bar Association on October 26, 2010 adopted a resolution expressing annoyance over dillydallying in the appointment.