Village courts, through providing appropriate verdict to plaintiffs’ claims, are gradually gaining confidence of grassroots level rural people.
Village court got legitimacy in 2006 and in 2013 an amendment was made in the law. According to the amendment, the chairman of the Union Parishad and two representatives of both the plaintiffs and defendants in total five people can form the 'village court'.
One of the two representatives from each side has to be a member of the Union Parishad. The Union Parishad Chairman performs the role of Chairman of the village court.
Both the civil and criminal offenses can be settled in the village court. In case of Dewani cases, the case of stealing money, recovering property or recovering its value, recovering the cost of property damage by domestic animal trespassing and other such issues. The maximum fine of Tk 5,000 may be imposed by the court. If the verdict is not heeded then Tk 500 can be fined.
However, the court has to follow some margins. In this case, if the accused person has previously been convicted by a high court, if the property of any minor is grabbed by someone, if there are government or any public servants involved, the village court will not be able to pass verdict on the case. The village court cannot imprison anyone. According to Article 245 of the Criminal Procedure, the village court cannot spare the criminals for crimes such as rape, murder, acid attack, woman torture, kidnapping, robbery and other such sever crimes.
Mohammad Mokhlesur Rahman Sarkar, Joint Secretary (Union Parishad Branch) of the Ministry of Local Government, said the number of beneficiaries from the village court is increasing steadily. The settlement of many minor disputes is now possible through the village court. These courts are playing a role in reducing the pressure on the judiciary.
Acting Secretary (Law and Justice) Md. Golam Sarwar said that the village court is established by law and regulated accordingly which is acceptable judicial system. The government is encouraging alternative means to reduce the tide of cases being brought judicial courts and high courts. The village court is also playing a significant role in reducing the pressure on the courts.