In order to reduce the number of pending cases, 112 Additional District and Sessions Judge's courts as well as Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge's courts will be set up in different districts of the country.
Law Secretary Golam Sarwar told The Business Standard (TBS) on Thursday, "The Ministry of Public Administration issued an order approving the recruitment of manpower for these courts this month. Now, once the Ministry of Finance, Secretary Committee on Administrative Development, PMO, and president approve the order, the Ministry of Law will appoint judges and manpower to start the activities of these courts."
"Already, the file has been sent to the finance ministry. We hope trial proceedings of these courts will start in January after the formalities are completed," he added.
According to the law ministry, 112 new judges and 605 new employees have been proposed for these courts.
According to the law ministry, out of the new 112 courts, 91 will be Additional District and Sessions Judge's courts while 21 will be Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge's courts.
There are now 112 Additional District and Sessions Judge's courts and 16 Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Courts in the country where 2,26,759 cases are pending.
According to the Supreme Court and the law ministry, during 2015, the then-Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha took the initiative to reduce the number of pending cases.
As a consequence of the initiative, the Supreme Court sent a proposal to the law ministry to set up these courts and create the posts.
At the end of 2015, the law ministry forwarded the proposal to the public administration ministry.
According to the public administration ministry, the file remained unattended for about a year. After checking and sorting the file, the ministry sent it back to the law ministry on 10 July, 2016, seeking clarification on some issues.
According to the note of the public administration ministry, after three years and one month, on 20 August, the law ministry re-sent the proposal to the public administration ministry, detailing the number and type of courts, judges, manpower, necessary equipment, and necessary funds.
The public administration ministry then approved it earlier this month.
According to a law ministry source, it is not possible to appoint judges easily to these courts. There are now 250 additional district judge posts, with only 150 judges. They are on duty at 128 Additional District Judge's and Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge's courts while the rest are on deputation to various ministries and the Supreme Court.
According to sources, it will not be possible to appoint judges to the newly created 112 courts until serving joint district judges are promoted.
Former District and Sessions Judge Iqtedar Ahmed told TBS that in addition to a scarcity of judges, there is still a three-step process left to proceed for setting up the courts.
"It is not possible to say when it will be completed, if we keep in mind that this activity started more than five years ago," he added.
According to Supreme Court sources, about 3.6 million cases are pending in the country's courts. There are 1,889 judges. Each judge has an average of 1,905 cases pending before it.
Most of the criminal cases are tried at Additional District and Sessions Judge's and Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge's courts. There is no alternative to increasing the number of these courts if criminal cases are to be disposed of expeditiously.
Of the 112 new courts proposed: four are in Narayanganj, five in Gazipur, three in Narsingdi, one in Munshiganj, one in Manikganj, one in Feni, two in Kishoreganj, two in Netrokona, two in Jamalpur, two in Rajbari, two in Gopalpur, two in Chattogram, five in Cox's Bazar, one in Lakshmipur, one in Cumilla, three in Brahmanbaria, one in Bhola, one in Chandpur, two in Naogaon, one in Rangamati, two in Khagrachari, two in Moulvibazar, one in Habiganj, one in Sunamganj, three in Rajshahi, three in Natore, one in Pabna, one in Sirajganj, eight in Bogura, two in Joypurhat, one in Bagerhat, four in Satkhira, five in Jessore, one in Magura, one in Jhenaidah, one in Rangpur; plus one each in Narail, Meherpur, Pirojpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, and Dinajpur.