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Expedite our E-judiciary to reduce huge backlog of cases  

Published : Thursday, 20 June, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 231

“The biggest challenge for the judiciary in Bangladesh is to reduce the delay in the court process and remove the backlog of cases. Factors such as prohibitive costs, backdated procedural laws, corruption, undue influence, and lack of awareness of legal rights contribute to the backlog”

The administration of justice in Bangladesh faces challenges due to a large case backlog, which is affecting access to justice. The governments Vision 2021 aims to make the country digitalized, but the actual situation is worse. The e-court system is not fully digitalized, creating an unsettling logjam of cases. This paper investigates the implementation of e-judiciary in Bangladesh, focusing on the challenges and prospects of digitalization. The judiciary in Bangladesh comprises the Supreme Court, civil and criminal courts, and a lower judiciary consisting of criminal and civil courts. The paper recommends addressing these issues to improve access to justice through digitalization and improve the efficiency of the judicial process.

The digitalization of the judiciary is a growing trend, aiming to streamline the justice process and reduce case filings. In Bangladesh, the digitalization of courts began in 2009 to remove backlogs and keep up with the fast-moving world. This process involves scanning and producing court documents, which should be password-secured. The digital system is environmentally friendly and can prevent online fraud. E-courts, which combine brick-and-mortar courts with virtual environments, have been successful in Singapore, where technology has made the administration of justice world-class.

Bangladeshs judiciary should also move towards a paperless courtroom and the birth of a cyber-court, recognizing that technology is just a means to fulfill the age-old duty of delivering justice to the people.
The Constitution of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh guarantees equal protection of the law to all citizens. However, the lack of speedy and effective disposal of cases is a significant constraint. The massive backlog of cases in the judicial system denies people the right to effective protection of law and access to remedies. This erodes peoples trust in the formal justice system, leading to extra-judicial and sometimes illegal processes.

The biggest challenge for the judiciary in Bangladesh is to reduce the delay in the court process and remove the backlog of cases. Factors such as prohibitive costs, backdated procedural laws, corruption, undue influence, and lack of awareness of legal rights contribute to the backlog.

Bangladeshs judicial system, despite its constitutional independence, is plagued by inefficiencies and a logjam of cases. The countrys judicial system suffers from issues such as lengthy case disposal times, uncertainty in proceedings, and difficulty accessing judicial services. Case flow management and cash flow management techniques are being adopted to address these issues. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are considered indispensable tools for case management and efficient delivery of judicial services. Rapid digitalization can enhance the efficiency, speed, and flawlessness of the courts and record room, reduce delays, and increase transparency and automation.

Bangladeshs judiciary is digitizing records and implementing e-services through web portals using smart devices. Case management software, cause list access, bail confirmation, summons via email, and web-based Judicial Officers Database Management Application are among the solutions. However, the adoption of ICT in the judiciary has been disappointing compared to the executive and legislative pillars. Challenges include high funding, complete digitization of records, technical knowledge, quality infrastructure, and overcoming infrastructural bottlenecks. Implementing digital Bangladesh requires a change in mindset and institutional capacity.

Digitalization of the judiciary is essential for speedy case disposal and public confidence. To achieve this, the judicial system should be independent, introduce a computerized case documentation and management system, change laws to adapt to e-judiciary, and adapt old courtrooms with new technologies.

Adequate budgets should be allocated, and judges, lawyers, law enforcement agencies, and court officials should be trained to cope with e-judiciary. However, the use of technology has high risks of being hacked, distorted, and misused. Advance technologies, services, and experts should be exported to Bangladesh, and required laws should be amended parallel with the e-judicial system. A backup plan should be prepared, and a national and sub-national committee should be formed to control and utilize the scheme.

E-courts require a paradigm shift in the existing structure, requiring legal provisions to adapt to technology objectives. Lawyers must shift to a paperless model, and adequate training for lawyers and software costs are concerns. E-judiciary, a tech-based judicial system, may bring a radical change in justice administration. Bangladeshs government should take initiatives for e-judiciary, despite challenges in resources, capacity, and knowledge.

The writer is student of LL.B., University of Chittagong







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