HC Issues Rule on Govt for Not Setting up Judges Courts, Tribunals in CHT, 03 February 2006

The High Court on Thursday issued a rule on the government to explain within four weeks why it would not be directed to give effect to the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2003, and Section 26 of the Prevention of Women and Children Repression Act, 2000, that stipulates establishment of criminal and civil courts and tribunals for trial and disposal of cases relating to women and children repression in the three hill districts.

A High Court bench passed the order after hearing a public-interest-litigation writ petition filed by the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust and three individuals from Khagrachhari, Rangamati and Bandarban.

Idrisur Rahman, the counsel for the petitioners, told the court that the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2003, was enacted on September 21, 2003, with mandatory provisions for the establishment of civil and criminal courts (district and sessions’ judge’s court) in the three CHT districts.

The amended law, however, has not been given effect as yet resulting in continual sufferings of about 14 lakh people of the CHT, who are being denied their fundamental rights to justice, argued the counsel.

Section 26 of the Prevention of Women and Children Repression Act 2000 (Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain) stipulates that the government will establish a tribunal in each district of Bangladesh to deal with the cases under the act.

Though it was enacted in 2000, no tribunal has yet been established in any district of the CHT region depriving the poor and marginalized people of their rights to justice, the counsel told the court.

Idrisur Rahman with Amatul Karim, Syed Ziaul Hasan and Protokar Chakma moved the case for the petitioners.