Speedy Trial Tribunals Fail To Complete Trial In Time
3,107 sensitive cases pending
Speedy Trial Tribunals, which were constituted to complete trial in quick time, failed to complete trials in most sensitive cases in 135 working days as mandated by the Speedy Trial Tribunal Act 2002.
The law was enacted on December 1, 2002 to ensure speedy trials of sensitive cases involving gruesome crimes.
There are nine Speedy Trial Tribunals, four in Dhaka and one in each of Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barishal and Sylhet.
According to the Supreme Court, until September 30, 2019 at least 3,107 sensitive cases were pending disposal by the nine Speedy Trial Tribunals.
The home ministry's monitoring cell identifies 'sensitive cases' and the law ministry sends them to the Speedy Tribunals for trial.
At the initial level, the tribunals have tried to dispose some cases within its stipulated period. But, gradually the number of disposal of such cases within the period decreased and created a huge backlog of 3,107 cases.
Although the tribunals were given the mandate to dispose of the cases, the judges of the tribunals failed to ensure of
speedy trials within its stipulated period.
As per the section 10(1) of the Druto Bichar Ain, 2002, it's mandatory for all tribunals to dispose the cases within 135 days. It said that the Tribunal shall dispose the cases by 90 days, if failed to do it in 30 days will be extended and finally 15 more days will be added.
Of 3107 cases, 1,989 cases are pending in four tribunals of Dhaka, 110 in Chattogram, 141 in Rajshahi, 354 in Khulna, 28 in Sylhet and 485 cases in Barishal.
According to the statement of the SC, some of the cases were remained pending in tribunals from four to six years. As a result, the huge number of cases got stuck.
The relevant persons and experts claimed that the main reason of the huge backlog is lack of coordination and negligence of the prosecution and failure of the administration to produce the witnesses before the courts.
Special public prosecutor Md. Abu Abdullah Bhuiyan told the Daily Observer, that as per the Supreme Court judgement, it's not mandatory to dispose the cases within 135 days. But, we are trying for dispose the case within the timeframe.
According to the SC sources, the deadly 21 August grenade attack case disposed after 8 and half years on October 10 in 2018, Judge Shahed Nuruddin of Dhaka's Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 delivered the verdict. In the verdict, the 19 people were sentenced to death including former state minister for home Lutfuzzaman Babar, former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu, former NSI chief Rezzaqul Haider Chowdhury, former DGFI director Abdur Rahim, and owner of Hanif Paribahan, Mohammad Hanif.
The 19 people sentenced to life imprisonment include BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, Khaleda Zia's former political secretary Harris Chowdhury, and former BNP lawmaker, Qazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad.
The speedy Tribunal spent 7 years for disposing the attack on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Kotalipara, Gopalgonj case.
There are exceptions also to dispose such cases. The Speedy Tribunal of Sylhet disposed sensitive Michlu case within 8 month that came up for trial on August 9, 2016. Former Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria murder case is spending with the Sylhet Speedy Tribunal for around five years.