Consultation with judiciary & police at district level on effective functioning of village courts
During October to November 2017, AVCB II Project organized six consultation meetings with district level judiciary and police in Gopalganj, Madaripur, Noakhali, Jamalpur, Sylhet and Naogaon. The major objectives of these meetings were to give an overview of Village Courts, share challenges and learnings from AVCB Project’s pilot phase and seek recommendations from the participants to increase early screening and case referral as well as to enhance cooperation and coordination.
Engagement and role of Judiciary and Police Officials in relation to effective functioning of VCs is significant as appeals from VCs go to an Assistant Judge for civil disputes and Judicial Magistrate for criminal matters as well as many petty disputes can also be resolved at VCs without going to police stations. In one consultation meeting, Honourable senior District and Sessions Judge of Noakhali Mr. Akbar Hossain Mridha remarked, “If Village Court (VC) is functional it will reduce peoples’ sufferings, court burdens as well as case backlogs, the critical area is to build trust and confidence on VC among the community people.”
During the consultation meetings, participants recognized the importance to make the Judiciary and Police aware on the VC activities as well as how VC works and how the procedures can be simplified for case transfer/refer from District Courts to VCs. It was also shared, police can play a pivotal role in reducing people’s sufferings through promoting village courts information and message among justice seekers as well as a formal strategy/process could be devised for case referral from Police Stations.