The lack of training at the Department of Environment (DoE) is slowing down investigation and quick disposal of cases filed at the Chittagong Divisional Environment Court.
Out of a total 234 cases filed only 47 are currently under proceedings while the DoE is still collecting evidence for 187 cases.
The evidence in some of these cases become unusable as they degrade and cannot be used in court proceedings.
The DoE officials of Chittagong claim a shortage of employees is the reason for this backlog. Although the officials of the DoE are the plaintiffs in most of the cases lodged with the Environment Court.
To dispose of environment-related cases, the government had established two courts in Dhaka and Chittagong in 2002. Another court was set up in Sylhet in 2005.
Md Saiful Islam, special public prosecutor, Chittagong Divisional Environment Court said that most of the DoE officials regrettably lacked the required expertise on how to carry out investigations into the cases properly.
“Quick disposal of cases is greatly obstructed when the investigation proceeds at a snail’s pace,” the public prosecutor said.
Jamir Uddin, deputy director of Chittagong DoE said that they were submitting investigation reports every month, adding: “But we are still facing acute manpower shortage for which we cannot submit investigation reports on time.”
The lawyers dealing with environment-related cases said that a time frame should be incorporated into the laws so that the investigators would be obligated to submit their reports on time.