752 death penalty cases awaiting for settlement
Published: 10:02 PM, 15 February 2020 Updated: 11:28 PM, 15 February 2020
A total, 752 death penalty cases including 21 August grenade attack cases, Chattogram 10 trucks weapon case and Seven murder case in Narayanganj are awaiting settlement in the Supreme Court's High Court and Appellate Division. Of these, 721 cases are pending in the High Court division while 31 cases are pending in the Appellate Division.
Following the speedy settlement of such cases in the lower courts of the country, the proceedings of the High Court are very slow. The death sentence cases in the high court division are increasing day by day. Apparently, both the prosecution and the accused have been disappointed over these cases, which have been pending in both divisions of the Supreme Court for years, have not been settled. In the hope of justice, the plaintiffs and the accused have to travel around the court year after year.
If an accused is sentenced to death in the lower court, it has to seek the approval of the High Court to implement the sentence. This is known as the death reference case. After the High Court verdict, the aggrieved party appeals to the Appellate Division. After the final judgment of the Appellate Division, the aggrieved party may apply for a review.
Supreme Court sources said that due to the annual leave of the court and the restructuring of the High Court Bench at different times, the hearing of these death reference cases is slow. Meanwhile, after the settlement of the lower court, many cases (death reference) have come to the High Court.
Concerned said, how the death reference cases are being settled in the High Court Department, it will take another 5-6 years to settle the current pending case. According to the statistics of the Death Reference Branch of the High Court, up to 721 cases (death references) are pending. About 154 Death reference cases have been handed over to High Court from the lower courts in 2018; of these, 83 were settled. It was 171 in 2017, 161 in 2016 and 114 in 2015.
In the last ten years, such cases have increased almost twice in the High Court divission and the numbers of prisoners also increased. The number of death convicted in various jails across the country is over 1,700.
In this regard, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said the bench needed to be further expanded to settle the death reference cases. The issue of raising the bench entirely depends on Chief Justice.
Supreme Court spokesman and Special Officer Barrister Saifur Rahman said Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain had visited the death reference branch after taking office. He opened a bench for speedy settlement of these cases. At the same time, skilled employees have been promoted to speed up work at the Death Reference Branch.
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