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Friday, February 20, 2015, Falgun 8, 1421 BS, Robi-Us-Sani 30, 1436 Hijr

Blockade frustrates CJ's plan to reduce backlog of cases
Nazmus Sakib
Published : Friday, 20 February, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 18
The ongoing nonstop hartal-blockade enforced by the BNP- led 20-party alliance frustrated a plan of Chief Justice SK Sinha to reduce logjam of cases.
The lawyers of the Supreme Court are facing serious difficulty in conducting their regular activities.
The violent programmes  linger sufferings of the justice seekers as they are also facing troubles in turning up to the courts.
On January 18, the Chief Justice in his address suggested strategies to ease the backlog of cases mentioning that at the SC around 365,059 cases are waiting for hearing and disposal.
"In the Supreme Court it will not be hard to reduce case backlogs by 15 per cent to 20 per cent if we, the judges, can sincerely and strictly maintain the court hours and fully utilize the time allotted for the hearing of cases and judicial works," Sinha said.
Chief Justice Sinha on January 19 extended the time of running sessions by 45 minutes for the Appellate Division while 30 minutes for the High Court.
Now the benches of the Appellate Division are required to conduct sessions for three hours and 45 minutes while the High Court five hours and 30 minutes.   
However, the justices of the High Court cannot continue the sessions up to the stipulated time in the days of shutdown because of non-presence of lawyers in the courtrooms.
Though situation improved in the sense that most of the High Court benches now conduct sessions during the days of general strike, they could not run session after the lunch hour due to absence of lawyers. So, it is evident that the justices face serious trouble in reducing backlog of cases as they could not utilise the time fully.    
Sources said now the bench officers phoned the lawyers to present their cases which do not happen in normal days.
On February 8, Supreme Court Bar Association adopted a resolution to ask the chief justice and other justices of the Supreme Court to refrain from running sessions in the days of hartal, adding that, the lawyers will abstain themselves from moving the benches on security concerns. The pro-BNP and Jamaat lawyers make agitations on shutdown days regularly supporting the programme.   
However, pro-BNP lawyers are becoming reluctant to observe shutdown at the Supreme Court.  TH Khan, an adviser to the BNP Chairperson, and BNP Standing Committee Member Moudud Ahmed were seen moving the courts in the days of hartal, sources said.
While talking to this correspondent, a good number of lawyers said like every people of the country, they and their clients suffer badly due to continuous spell of shutdown.  
ABM Waliur Rahman Khan, former senior vice-president of Supreme Court Bar Association and a pro-BNP lawyer, said: "In a hartal or blockade the whole country including me has to be seriously affected in all sides. Our pocket has become empty and clients have to suffer. "
When contacted, Supreme Court Bar Association President and also the BNP Chairperson's Adviser Khandker Mahbub Hossain told The Daily Observer, "We have called a meeting with the lawyers on February 22 on whether they want to continue abstinence from courts on security reasons or not. We also think over the sufferings of the justice seekers as well."

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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