The High Court (HC) has directed that child custody cases pending in family courts across the country be settled within six months.
The HC directed the law secretary and the registrar general of the Supreme Court to take steps to implement the directive and to inform persons concerned.
An HC bench comprising of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman gave the order on Sunday, after disposing of a writ petition filed by a mother seeking her child's custody.
The court ordered to settle the case filed by the mother with the family court, giving her by 31 March, the responsibility of raising the child.
The HC observed that child custody cases filed with the family court are not being settled in even two and three years, which is sad and frustrating.
The HC also observed that the provision of a fine of Tk200 for disobeying a family court order is insufficient. The authorities concerned have been advised to amend and update this provision.
Advocate Motahar Hossain Saju appeared for the mother and writ petitioner at the hearing, while lawyer Fauzia Karim Firoz moved for the father.
Motahar Hossain told reporters that a girl from Rangpur and a boy from Rajshahi got married in 2011 and their daughter was born in 2015. The couple got divorced in 2018 and the baby was with her father after the divorce. In this context, the mother filed a writ petition with the High Court to get the child back. The same year, after initially hearing the writ, the court gave the mother opportunity to spend time with the child.
The child's mother had filed a case in family court as well.
Motahar Hossain said the six-year-old child lives in Rangpur with her father. Disposing of the writ, the court said the 'mother' could see her daughter in Rangpur and spend time with her. The district police commissioner has been asked to provide assistance in this regard.
The father's lawyer, Fauzia Karim, said the parents would have to abide by the order of the family court, once the case is settled there.