Litigants are facing immense suffering to get justice in cyber crime-related cases due to a lack of enough tribunal to try the cases across the country.
The government has set up the lone Cyber Tribunal (Bangladesh) in Dhaka in February in 2013 to conduct trial of cyber crime-related cases.The cyber crime cases increased in many folds in the last six years but the number of courts is still only one to deal with the cases for all over the country.
Besides, the sufferings of the litigants also mount as the cyber tribunal does not have enough logistics, including court room, public prosecutor room, etc.
The tribunal goes for the trial after the proceedings of the regular court of Dhaka Special Judge Court-4 ends.
The litigants have to wait till 2:00pm as the activities of the regular court ends at that time.
The tribunal’s Special Public Prosecutor, Nazrul Islam Shamim, said: “We are conducting trial in ICT cases but we are not getting enough digital facilities to try the cases.”
“We have no specific courtroom, PP office or room to keep important documents and samples of the cases,” he said, adding that “We informed the higher authorities of the matter, but there is no progress as yet.”Talking to daily sun standing in front of the cyber tribunal, Salehin Ahmed, 27, one of the sufferers, said a case was filed with Tangail police station against him under the ICT act in November, 2014, But the trial is yet to be completed.
“I have been appearing before the court for the last five years but the trial is yet to be done. I have to
spend around Tk 3,000 every hearing date,” he said.
“I prefer punishment instead of appearing before the court frequently,” said Salehin, a Non-Government Organsiation employee.
In another such case, three journalists—Kabir Hossain, editor of Dainik Sangu published from Chattogram, its News Editor Badrul Islam Masud and Chief Reporter Champak Chakraborty—on Sunday came to the cyber tribunal from Chattogram to attend a hearing in a case under the ICT Act.
The case was filed on August 24, 2015 under section 57 (1) of the ICT act against the journalists with Bayezid police station in the port city for publishing reports against a businessman.
Journalist Badrul Islam Masud said: “We have to appear before the tribunal during every hearing. We are going through sufferings like coming to Dhaka from Chattogram.”
Hailing from Daulatpur upazila of Kushtia, Sajjad Hossain, a complainant of a case, echoed the same.
Sajjad filed a case against a youth on May 2017 on charges of uploading nude photo of his daughter on social media.
He said: “We submitted a compromise deed before the court recently after making a negotiation with the defence as appearing for deposition and other-related work in cyber tribunal in Dhaka is very difficult for me and my daughter.”
“As we are poor, it is tough for me to manage the amount of money required to come to Dhaka for appearing before the court. So, we have gone for negotiation.”
Like them many accused (who are now on bail), plaintiffs, prosecution witnesses are facing such sufferings to appear before the cyber tribunal in Dhaka from remote areas of the country.
Meanwhile, around 1,200 cases are currently pending for disposal with the Cyber tribunal. Of them, many cases are pending for four to five years due to poor disposal of the cases.
Experts opined that the authorities should take special measures to set up enough courts across the country for dealing cyber crime cases in the greater interest of the litigants.
The backlog of cases will increase if the government does not take up enough measures within a short time, they said.
Shamim Al Mamun, a bench assistant (Peshkar) of the cyber tribunal, said: “The cyber tribunal is only one in the country, but we are not getting enough facilities.”
“We have to share courtroom and office room with other court due to lack of accommodation,” he added.
However, sources in the Law Ministry said the government took an initiative to set up seven more cyber tribunals at seven divisional cities across the country to conduct trial in cyber crime-related cases.
The seven cyber tribunal will be set up at Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna, Barishal, Sylhet, Rangpur and Mymenshing following the cyber tribunal act-2006.
About the new cyber tribunal, Law Minister Anisul Huq recently said the government will set up more cyber tribunals in divisional cities with a view to providing hassle- free legal services to the people.