Apex court to get new judges anytime
Since the Supreme Court's Appellate Division has been facing an acute shortage of judges, some new judges will be appointed anytime soon for gearing up its functions and increasing the rate of case disposal.
"So far I know the honourable president will elevate some judges from the High Court Division to the Appellate Division very soon. But I cannot specifically say how many will be promoted to the Appellate Division this time," Law Minister Anisul Huq told The Daily Star recently.
Asked whether new judges will be appointed to the HC which also has a shortage of judge, the law minister said, "I don't know about it."
The number of apex court judges stood at four after the immediate past chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain retired on December 30 last year.
Among the four sitting judges, Justice Muhammad Imman Ali has gone on a long leave citing personal reasons.
Currently, three judges of the Appellate Division headed by newly appointed Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique are running the judicial functions of the top court.
More than one bench of this division cannot be constituted due to a shortage of judges, as at least three judges are needed for constituting a bench of this court, said court sources.
Five judges retired in the last two years, but the appointment of judges to the top court was not made in accordance with the vacancies, leading to the crisis.
President Abdul Hamid last appointed judges to the Appellate Division on September 2, 2020.
On July 9, 2009, the then president raised the number of judges at the Appellate Division from seven to 11 prior to disposing of some important cases on the assassination of Bangabandhu and the fifth amendment to the constitution, among others.
The HC has now 90 judges. Among the 90 sitting judges, three are not being allowed to sit in the bench for running judicial functions as an inquiry is going on against them since August 22, 2019.
Besides, three others are conducting the International Crimes Tribunal that holds trials of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the Liberation War.
Some 15,225 cases were pending with the Appellate Division and 4,529,63 with the HC as of December 31, 2020, according to an annual report of SC.