JUST to expand beyond pilot districts

23 Dec 2013

imageJUST will be expanded in another three district locations in 2014. Photo: UNDP Bangladesh
In addition to the project’s existing three pilot districts-Dhaka, Kishoreganj and Rangamati, JUST will be expanded in another three district locations in 2014 namely Rajshai, Rangpur and Commilla. The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Bangladesh as well as the chair of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) of Judicial Strengthening Project (JUST) Mr. Justice Md. Muzzammel Hossain announced this decision and approved it during the 3rd PSC meeting held on December 15 and December 23, 2013.

Mr. Jakhongir Khaydarov, Chief Technical Advisor of JUST presented the Annual Work Plan (AWP) 2014 before the PSC and after examining the proposed AWP 2014 PSC members discussed on various aspects of the proposed plan such as awareness raising on Mediation, midterm evaluation, expansion of project implementation area, support to the women judges association and SMS based cause list. Representative from the ministries and UNDP participated in the discussion and after elaborate discussion PSC decided to place the AWP to the Supreme Court Special Committee for Judicial Reforms for their Evaluation. The AWP was finally approved on December 23, 2013 in the PSC meeting with the incorporation of the project activity expansion in three district locations.

In his speech, the Chief Justice highly said the focus on the project objectives especially reduction of the ‘pending cases’ is essential. According to the statistics of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh as of 31st March 2013, the total number of pending cases was 2.7 millions.

Mr. KAM Morshed, Assistant Country Director of UNDP Bangladesh spoke about ownership of the project and finalizing the AWP in consultation with all the stakeholders which he termed as ultimate key to success of project implementation. He thanked the hon’ble judges of the Supreme Court and the government representatives for their great input.

The PSC also emphasized strengthening Mediation in 2014 as a tool of case management mechanism. Reports from the project’s three pilot district courts revealed that the number ofcases disposed by mediation in 2013 increased by an average by 40% compared to 2012. In Rangamati pilot district court (indigenous region) the increase is 137%. The PSC also emphasized in strengthening ICT and capacity building intervention which become effective in delivering timely and efficient services in speedy case management and backlog reduction scheme.

Mr. SM Kuddus Zaman, National Project Director of JUST as well as Special Officer of the Supreme Court said that due to functioning of Case Management Committee in the pilot district courts compared to 2012, more than 55000 people were relieved from the cost and sufferings because of litigation delays.

The meeting attended from the Supreme Court of Bangladesh Madam Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, Hon’ble Judge of the Appellate Division; Mr. Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Hon’ble Judge of the Appellate Division; Mr. Justice Mohammad. Anwarul Haque, Hon’ble Judge of the Appellate Division; Mr. Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury, Hon’ble Judge of the Appellate Division; Mr. Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury, Hon’ble Judge of the High Court Division; and Madam Justice Naima Haider, Hon’ble Judge of the High Court Division.

Assistant Country Director of UNDP Bangladesh Mr. KM Morshed represented the country Director of UNDP in the meeting and replied to queries raised by the PSC members especially by the government officials.