Judiciary The judiciary in Bangladesh consists of the higher judiciary (the supreme court), and the subordinate judiciary (the lower courts).
Supreme court the apex court of the country consisting of two divisions, ie the Appellate Division and the High Court Division. chief justice of Bangladesh and other judges in each division constitute the Supreme Court. Chief justice and other judges are independent in the exercise of their judicial functions subject to the provisions of the Constitution. The chief justice and other judges are appointed by President in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister. Judges of the supreme court are appointed from amongst the advocates of the supreme court.
High court division has power of judicial review. On the application of any aggrieved person high court division may give such directions or orders to any person or authority including a person performing any function in connection with the affairs of the republic for the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. In enforcing the fundamental rights, high court division is empowered to declare any law inconsistent with the fundamental right or any other part of the Constitution void to the extent of inconsistency. High court division has also original jurisdiction in cases relating to company, admiralty, matrimonial issues, trade marks, etc. High court division may also withdraw a case from any subordinate court and dispose of the same if any substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution or a point of general public importance is involved in that case.
The high court division has appellate and revisional jurisdictions conferred on it by the laws. An appeal lies to the appellate division as of right from judgment, decree, order or sentence passed by the high court division where the high court division certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution of Bangladesh or has sentenced a person to death or imprisonment for life or has imposed punishment for contempt of that court.
Both the divisions of the supreme court of Bangladesh are courts of record, and have power subject to the revisions of Contempt of Courts Act 1926 to investigate and punish any one for contempt of court. Law declared by the appellate division is binding on the high court division and the law declared by either division of the supreme court is binding on all subordinate courts. All authorities executive and judicial in the country shall act in aid of the Supreme Court. Subject to any law made by the jatiya sangsad the Supreme Court may with the approval of the President, make rules for regulating the practice and procedure of the high court division as well as of the appellate division. Supreme Court may delegate any of its functions regarding appointment of employees to a division of that court or to one or more judges. Appointment of the employees of the Supreme Court is made by the chief justice or other judges or officer authorised by the chief justice in accordance with the rules made by the court with the approval of the President subject to any law made by the Jatiya Sangsad to determine conditions of their service. High court division has superintendence and control over all subordinate courts and tribunals established by law.
Subordinate civil judiciary' There are four classes of subordinate civil courts, ie the courts of assistant judges, subordinate judges, additional judges and district judges. District judge is the head of the judiciary in each of the districts. In the hill districts where there are no separate civil courts, the magistrates perform the functions of the civil courts. Subject to the superintendence of the high court division, district judge has administrative control over all the civil courts of the district. District judge has mainly appellate jurisdiction, but in some matters he has original jurisdiction too. Jurisdiction of the additional judge is co-extensive with that of the district judge. He/she discharges the judicial business assigned to him/her by the district judge. Appeals to the judgements, decrees and orders passed by the assistant judges and subordinate judges lie to the district judge. Similarly district judge may transfer the appeals preferred against judgements, decree or orders passed by the assistant judges to the subordinate judges for disposal. Subordinate judges have mainly unlimited civil original jurisdiction.
Civil courts while deciding any question regarding succession, inheritance, marriage or caste or any religious usage or institution apply the Muslim law in cases where the parties are Muslims, Hindu law in cases where the parties are Hindus except so far as such law has been altered or abolished by any enactment made by the legislature.
Artha Rin Adalat (Loan court) have been set up in each district under the provisions of the Artha Rin Adalat Ain 1990 by the government appointing subordinate judges as judges of such courts in consultation with the supreme court. All suits for realisation of the loan of the financial institutions eg banks, investment corporation, house building finance corporation, leasing company etc, and non-banking financial institutions constituted under the provisions of Financial Institutions Act 1993, are to be filed in the Artha Rin Adalats and such suits are exclusively triable by such courts. Artha Rin Adalat is a civil court and has all the powers of the civil court.
Deulia Adalat (Bankruptcy court) has been constituted under the Bankruptcy Act 1997. District court in each district is the Bankruptcy court of that district, and district judge is the presiding judge of that court and is authorised to deal with and dispose of bankruptcy cases arising within the district and he/she may authorise an additional (district) judge to deal with and dispose of any such cases.
Subordinate criminal courts including magistracy There are five classes of subordinate criminal courts. These are courts of session, metropolitan magistrate, Magistrate of the first class, magistrate of the second class and magistrate of the third class. Divisional Commissioner performs the functions of the court of session for the three hill districts. Since January 1999 metropolitan courts of session have been established for the Dhaka and Chittagong metropolitan areas.
At least one magistrate is placed in every thana to perform magisterial functions in respect of such area. Normally, government appoints a junior civil servant of the administrative cadre as magistrate of third class. Government may also confer magisterial power on any respectable citizen of the country who is not a civil servant. Such magistrates are called honorary magistrates (justices of the peace) as distinguished from the stipendiary civil servant magistrates.
Administrative tribunals The Jatiya Sangsad may by law establish one or more administrative tribunals to exercise jurisdiction in respect of matters relating to or arising out of terms and conditions of persons in the services of the republic, property vested in or managed by the government by or under any law, etc. [Kazi Ebadul Hoque]
See also separation of the judiciary