Aleya Akhter came to Dhaka lower court to lodge a lawsuit against her former husband. She had to pay more than three times higher to purchase papers mandatory for official submission of the complaint. Like her, many alleged a syndicate — consists of government employees, vendors and bar association staffers — forge and overcharge for the papers including court fee token, hazira papers, bail bonds and vocalotnama.
For instance – the government is supposed to earn from court fee sales. However, frauds print the tokens and sell those to litigants depriving the government of earnings. Cartridge paper sale could be mentioned to understand how the crisis is orchestrated to overcharge the litigants.
Treasury office prints the cartridge papers where the government staffers working for the syndicate keeps the crisis alive. Though the government fixed price for a sheet at Tk 10, those are being sold at Tk 35, or more by vendors.
“If you buy something at a higher price, how could you charge the litigants with the government fixed rates,” Didarul Islam, a vendor at the court premises, raised the question. He categorically shifted the blamed to the ‘crisis’ at the treasury office.
The litigants — usually the poor people and specially the women like Aleya — suffer the most owing to the misdeeds, said Advocate Sanjeeb Kumar Shah. The lawyer believes court authorities, specially district judges, can take initiatives to eliminate the issues.
Meantime, General Secretary of Dhaka Bar Association Asaduzzaman Khan Rochi said they had been looking into the matter. Taking partial responsibility, he told The Business Standard: “Some dishonest employees of the Bar are also involved in.”
The treasury office fixes the cartridge paper price while the bar association determines the prices for court fee token, hazira papers, bail bonds and vocalotnama.
“Because of the forgeries, the bar association is counting more than Tk1 crore loss every year,” claimed Rochi.
“We filed a case against three vendors who are now in jail. The investigation officer is looking into the matter sincerely and we hope to get the issues solved soon,” he concluded.