The hallmark of a developed nation is a reliable, impartial, apolitical, and well-developed legal system
The judiciary of Bangladesh has a long way to go in terms of becoming efficient. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is right to point this out, saying: “Getting justice quickly, less expensively, and hassle-free is the right of the people.”
Sadly, as things currently stand, our justice system is not any of those things. Our staggering backlog alone is testament to how much work needs to be done. As of June of this year, there are some 3,794,908 cases pending in courts. It is quite impossible to estimate how long it will take to clear up this backlog -- if it is at all possible.
Such inefficiencies are disheartening, and certainly serve as disincentives for people to take recourse to the law in the first place. Common citizens are used to thinking justice will rarely be meted out, and only the rich and influential have a shot at their day in court.
Recently, the country has been shaken by protests against an epidemic of rape and sexual violence. The government responded by introducing the death penalty as a maximum punishment, but the sobering fact is that most rapes are not reported in the first place, and even when they are, the cases languish endlessly in the system.
The problem, then, is not the severity of the punishment, but the wheels of justice moving smoothly and swiftly in the first place. The hallmark of a developed nation is a reliable, impartial, apolitical, and well-developed legal system, where everyone has an equal shot at justice. The PM’s words should be heeded, and the task of getting our justice system should be treated as an utmost national priority.