An evaluation of village court: a study on selected village courts in Bangladesh
AuthorSarker, Md. Nazrul Islam
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The Union Parishad is a century old rural institution established in the grass root level in Bangladesh. It has been initiated, developed and run by the rural people. It is an established popular centre for service delivery with popular image. This ancient institution has been more enlightened with the running of Village Courts. From the very beginning of the Union Parishad it engages with the informal judicial system like Shalish. It has been emerged because of people desire; rural people always try to avoid lengthy and expensive process of formal courts. For fulfilling the people desire Village courts has emerged in mid-seventies with a view to improving the situation of Shalish. But with the passage of time it has lost its position due to poor functioning. At present the Government of Bangladesh with the help of UNDP and EU has taken „Activating Village Courts project‟ for the better performance of Village Courts. It is found from the study that though the Village Courts have limitations and drawbacks but still it is playing an important role in the settlements disputes and maintaining social peace and tranquility in the rural area. The Village Court is conducted by the Village Court Act, 2006. It has been promulgated in Bangladesh to save the rural people from the sufferings and hazards of the formal courts. Bangladesh is one of the developing countries of the world and most of its population lives in villages. So, the Village Court is very important for the rural people and for this reason it is very important to strengthen this system. The study examined the existing rural justice system named Village Courts in Bangladesh and argued that this justice system, if properly nurtured and reformed, could be a attractive alternative to the formal system of justice for the rural people of the country. The study also found that the performance of the existing Village Courts is constrained by poor implementation capacity and record management of the Village Courts, lack of knowledge of the related personnel about Village Courts etc. An increase of jurisdiction, supervision by the formal courts, proper training of Village Court related personnel and awareness buildup program by the both Government and Non-Government Organizations can make the Village Courts more effective. The present initiatives by „Activating Village Court Project‟ is increasing performance of Village courts so, project like initiative should be disseminate throughout the country. After ending the project system should be continue all over the country for the better performance of Village Courts.