07 May 2024, 21:23

Village Court (amendment) Bill passed in parliament

SANGSAD BHABAN, May 7, 2024 (BSS) - The Village Court (amendment) Act, 2024 was passed unanimously in the Jatiya Sangsad today with an amendment enhancing the authority of village courts to fine Tk 3,00,000, raising the amount from the existing Tk 75,000.
Local Government, Rural Development, and Cooperatives Minister M Tajul Islam moved the bill in the House, which was passed by voice vote with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.
After placing the bill, the minister said the government is set to enhance the authority of village courts, enabling them to raise fines from Tk 75,000 to Tk 3,00,000. The bill will be enacted after bringing an amendment to the Village Court Act, 2006.
He said a village court comprises five members, including the union parishad chairman. In some cases, the court cannot function if any member remains absent. In this situation, the absent member would get seven days to be present at the meeting. If the member cannot be present, then the chairman has the power to give one additional vote, he said.

In 2013, by amending the Village Court Act, the government increased the power of this court to impose fines from Tk25,000 to Tk75,000.

According to the objective of the bill, the Village Courts Ordinance 1976 was enacted to ensure speedy and easy settlement of minor disputes among local people in rural areas.
Later, the Village Courts Act, 2006, was enacted by repealing the Ordinance, and some sections of the Act were amended in 2013.

The government is working to promote the concept and process of alternative dispute resolution in minor disputes to reduce the pressure on the institutional judiciary system and to ensure easy as well as speedy access to justice for poor and disadvantaged people.
Village Court is a semi-formal dispute resolution mechanism founded on the concept of alternative dispute resolution.
Through this process, the people of the village, especially women from poor and backward communities, are getting the opportunity to settle their minor disputes at the local level through the village courts quickly and at a low cost.
During the successful implementation of the Village Courts Act, 2006, several limitations have been felt at the grassroots level, which hinders efforts to create access to justice.

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