The Chittagong Speedy Trial Tribunal has been without a judge for more than three months, halting the trial proceedings of a number of sensational cases.
Since February 2, when Judge Mohitul Haque Enam Chowdhury was transferred to the Sylhet Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal, the court bench has remained empty.
According to tribunal sources, the numbers of gazetted and non-gazetted cases pending with the tribunal stand at 15 and 80, respectively. Apart from this, there are now stay orders on 15 other tribunal cases.
As many as 30 sensational murders cases, including the murders of BNP leader Jamal Uddin and Additional District Judge Sayeed, are now pending with the tribunal.
There are also 15 pending cases against members of banned Islamist outfits Hizb ut-Tahrir and Ansarullah Bangla Team.
The detained, however, are being produced before the court on mandatory trial dates.
Chittagong Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal's special public prosecutor Mohammad Ayub Khan told the Dhaka Tribune that a good number of sensational cases have been stalled due to the absence of a judge.
“The case proceedings of the tribunal have now been limited to merely deferring the hearing dates. We cannot record depositions on sensational murder cases. Many witnesses travel from different districts of the division, only to have to return without giving depositions,” Ayub said.
He further explained: “Most of the cases awaiting disposal are militancy-related ones. We have already notified the authorities concerned to appoint a judge without further delay.
“In the interim, the District and Sessions judge has been in charge of the tribunal. However, it is not possible for the acting judge to hear these cases since he will become overburdened.”