Saturday, October 2, 2010

ARTICLE: Death Reference Cases of is Highly Jam at Higher Court in Bangladesh

Shahanur Islam Saikot
LL.B(Hon's);LL.M(Law& Justice)
JusticeMakers Fellow-10

There are 534 cases of death reference under trial in High Court of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. These cases are waiting for final judgment after verdict of death sentence given by lower court due to lengthiness of judicial procedure. Though the many cases are prepared for hearing of death reference, due to various hidden causes it is not been possible to make hearing due to resulting jam of cases before the higher court which create unbearable suffering to the people. In spite of being speedy trial of sensitive cases in lower court, it becomes held up in higher court for judgment. The need would be to make speedy trial of these cases, with the increased bench of death confirmation in High Court.

It is learned that there are 656 cases of death reference in High court division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. Among them 122 cases are being completed its judgment and rest of the 534 are now waiting for hearing. Some of them are under trial of high court for at least five years.

There are 47 death reference cases for this current year, 83 cases for the year of 2009, 137 cases for the year of 2008, 102 cases for the year of 2007, 111 for the year of 2006 and 55 cases of death reference for the year of 2005 are waiting to hearing at High court division of Bangladesh Supreme Court. Among them 120 cases for the year of 2005, 1 case for the year of 2006 and 22 cases for current year have been completed trial procedure. Presently 8 cases are prepared for hearing before the court and paper book for hearing has been prepared for 9 cases.

Many sensitive cases including Ahsan Ullah Master Murder case, parliament member Sujan murder case and Indian citizen Jibran murder case are still waiting for hearing at High Court.

According to court, five to six cases of death reference is dismissing after final judgment in every month by its four benches. It is not being made possible to do speedy hearing of all the death reference cases due to vacancy of court as well as the changing the jurisdiction of the bench. Moreover, other cases are being hearing at the bench of death reference due to not submitting the paper book.

A monitoring cell to identify important and sensitive case, taking prompt step for hearing, ensuring the presence of witnesses regularly, appeal to the accused of death sentence, to prepare speedy paper book as well as to associate the office of the attorney general has been formed. But, it is alleged that the monitoring cell did not work properly.

According to criminal proceeding court (Cr.P.C ), the verdict of death sentence given by the lower court can not executed without permission of High court. Whether any party of case does not file the appeal or not, the government must file the case with high court for death reference. So, every verdict of death sentence must be ensured by the order of High court. But it takes year to year to complete death reference case because of the length of time it takes to prepare the paper books.  

Currently, there are two separate benches that has the jurisdiction of death reference cases. But it is not enough for dismissing cases quickly. So, government must increase the number of bench under jurisdiction of hearing death reference case and also delegate the jurisdiction to hear these kind of cases who are able to do to decrees the jam of death reference case in the High court.
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