Litigants are suffering a lot as over 1.6 lakh cases filed under Women and Children Repression Prevention Act are pending with different tribunals across the country.
Many of the cases have been pending for over 10 years though the Act requires disposal of the cases within 180 days of their filing.As of December 30, 2018, 160,751 cases are pending with different Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunals, according to a data of Bangladesh Supreme Court (SC).
Of the cases, 13,040 are pending with nine tribunals in Dhaka, 12,615 with seven tribunals in Chattogram, 7,640 with one tribunal in Cox’s Bazar, 6,738 with two tribunals in Noakhali, 4,505 with three tribunals in Khulna, 4,582 with two tribunals in Sirajganj, 4,771 with one tribunal in Bhola, 5,893 with three tribunals in Habiganj, 6,173 with three tribunals in Rangpur and 4,812 with three tribunals in Brahmanbaria.
A total of 36,469 out of 67,857 cases have been pending for more than five years.
Of the cases, 1,904 are pending with nine tribunals in Dhaka, 1,130 with one tribunal in Gazipur, 2,594 with seven tribunals in Chattogram, 1,357 with one tribunal in Cox’s Bazar, 1,061 with two tribunals in Noakhali, 1,533 with one tribunal in Naogaon, 2,146 with two tribunals in Siragjanj, 1,800 with one tribunal in Bagerhat, and 2,555 with three tribunals in Rangpur district.
Many cases have been pending for over 10 years while some of the cases have been pending for 20 to 25 years, a SC official said seeking anonymity.
Apart from those, the trial proceedings of 930 cases have also been lying postponed due to stay order of the higher court, according to the SC data.Of those, some highly sensitive cases have also been pending for long. The litigants of the cases are yet to get justice due to delay in the trial process.
Shohagi Jahan Tonu, a student of Cumilla Victoria College, was murdered after rape in the restricted area of Moynamoti Cantonment in 2016. The family of the victim is yet to get justice, as the investigation of the case has not yet been done.
Family of Sima Mohammadi, a girl who was brutally killed by her stalker in 1988, did not get justice in the last 27 years.
Around 97 percent victims are not getting justice in the cases of violence against woman while only three percent are fortunate enough to get justice, according to a recent study of ActionAid Bangladesh.
Analyzing information of 2,800 incidents in 20 districts, the non-government organisation also found that every four out of five cases are taking two years time to start trial in court.
Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights (BSEHR) Executive Director Mostafa Sohel Ahmed said “We have been demanding for formation of special tribunal for quick disposal of the cases.”
The culture of impunity, political influence, social degradation, absence of enough cultural activities, lack of human values, and impact of technology are the major causes for rise in violence against women, the rights activist blamed.
Advocate Salma Ali, who works on human rights issues, said the trial processes in the women and children repression cases are going on at snail’s pace, though there is law to complete such case within 180 days.
In many cases it was found that police waste time to submit probe report, though there is rules to submit the report by 15 days, if the accused is arrested. Otherwise, it is 30 days, the lawyer said.
Justice seekers are deprived of justice, if the trial process delays and the accused go unpunished through the loopholes of the law, she said.
Former Executive Director of Ain-o-Salish Kendra (ASK) Advocate Sultana Kamal blamed the delay in submission of probe report by police.
Influential accused, negligence of concerned lawyers, and absence of adequate courts are also reasons for delay in the case disposal.
The rights activist urged the government for taking an initiative to increase the skill of the concerned lawyers and judges to deal the cases.
Formation of Special Observation Cell involving Law Ministry and Supreme Court is needed for quick disposal of the cases, she suggested.
National Human Right commission (NHRC) Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque said the trial in women and children repression cases are delayed due to no-appearance of witnesses and the lack of proper investigation.
Inadequate courts are also reason to dispose of so many cases filed under the law, he also said.