Friday, 21 January 2011

SC lawyers protest sectorwise benches

The new High Court Division management system introduced by Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque in disposing of the cases has led to severe unrest, agitation and anxiety among the lawyers belonging to both pro-government and pro-opposition groups.

The reconstituted HC Division with specific sector-wise jurisdiction has made the judicial procedures more complicated, impeding quick disposal of cases, further increasing the backlog and hampering the dispensation of justice at the apex court, said the SC lawyers.

Lawyers of all shades of opinion are aggrieved with the new system, introduced for the first time in the country.

Normally, those High Court benches, which are assigned to hear Writ petitions take petitions from all sectors; but, according to the new system made by the CJ, the Writ hearing power has been divided between benches sector-wise, such as railway Writs can be filed with a particular bench and stock exchange Writs with another bench, said the lawyers.

As a result, the lawyers cannot have choice of benches to file their Writ petitions and they believe this hinders justice for all, the lawyers said. In general, the Judges of a division bench of the HC decides which cases will be come in its cause list; the bench's judges send the cases to the concerned SC section that sends those to the BG Press to print the same. But, currently the Chief Justice himself is sending different cases directly to the SC section, without informing the concerned judges and lawyers, the lawyers said.

On queries the section officers said the extra cases included in the cause list by the Chief Justice, lawyers said.

The Chief Justice is also allegedly directing benches of the HC Division as to in which cases anticipatory bail will be given and in which cases not, said statement issued by same lawyers.

Some lawyers, who are called officers of the court, while talking to this reporter termed the measures of the CJ "Indirect interference in the judicial procedures," adding, "the Chief Justice cannot dictate the benches."

Even after the CJ's directive when few benches initiated to grant bail in a particular case, the Chief Justice removed Writ hearing power of that bench, alleged some lawyers.

Protesting the reconstitution of the court management system, Supreme Bar Association (SCBA) faction loyal to BNP staged a sit-in before the CJ's office on January 18.

The pro-AL lawyers didn't take part in the protest programme as an HC judgment prohibited to do so inside of the apex court but they had full support to the demands, said former SCBA General Secretary SM Rezaul Karim.

"The normal system should be reinstated," Rezaul Karim said.

The SCBA leaders gave the CJ a seven-day ultimatum to change the new system. "Otherwise they warned to wage tough movement."

As a result, the SC may witness another heated situation any time, the lawyers opined.

The incumbent SCBA General Secretary Barrister Badruddoza Badol yesterday told The New Nation that the lawyers' profession 'is about to be destroyed with the reconstituted system in the apex court'.
The New Nation

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