HC orders to set up civil and criminal courts in hills districts
Monday, 25 February 2008

Staff Correspondent

The High Court Sunday ordered the government to set up civil and criminal courts in the three hills districts of Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban.

The HC bench of justices ABM Khairul Haque and Abdul Awal issued the order after Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust and three CHT residents filed a writ petition with the HC in 2006.

The HC set the government a one-year deadline to implement the order. In the verdict, the court said the CHT residents had been deprived of their equal right to law and justice in the absence of civil and criminal courts in the three districts.

In 2006, the HC asked the government to explain why it would not be directed to set up civil and criminal courts in the hills districts. But the case had remained stalled. The districts have a different court system as they are administered under the CHT Regulation and Hill District Council Act.

The deputy commissioner (district administrator) for each district discharges the functions of a civil court. Appeals can be filed with the Chittagong divisional commissioner against the orders passed by the deputy commissioner. The High Court holds powers to review the order of the divisional commissioner.

Also, the deputy commissioner who is also district magistrate deals with criminal cases. The divisional commissioner was the ex-officio sessions judge in dealing with criminal cases.

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