Covid-19 in Bangladesh: CJ hints at reverting to virtual trial proceedings


Dhaka, Jan 18: Amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in Bangladesh, Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique hinted at the possibility of reintroducing virtual judicial proceedings.

“Citing the worsening Covid-19 situation, it seems that we’ll have to conduct trials through virtual courts again. Many cases were disposed of during the virtual court hearing,” he said while conducting judicial activities at the Appellate Division.

Thirteen judges of the High Court division and a number of judges and staff have been found infected with Covid-19, he added.

Besides, Biswajit Debnath, deputy attorney general, who was present at the court, said, “Our Attorney General and Additional Attorney General were found infected with Covid-19 and a number of lower court judges were also infected with the virus.”

The activities in all courts of the country remained suspended for several days due to the Covid-19 surge.

On May 10 last year, an ordinance was promulgated allowing courts to run trial proceedings through video conferences and availing of other digital facilities.

President Abdul Hamid promulgated the ordinance.

Later, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs issued a gazette notification, saying that it will take immediate effect.

On May 10, the High Court formed three benches for hearing urgent cases virtually and directed the subordinate courts concerned to hear cases related to emergency bail.

All the judicial activities of benches under the High Court division of the Supreme Court resumed virtually from August 11, 2020.

The Cabinet on May 7, 2020 cleared the draft of an ordinance to pave the way for courts to run trial proceedings through videoconferences and other digital means using the information technology.

Meanwhile, the judicial activities of both the High Court and Supreme Court divisions conducted in physical presence maintaining health protocols from December 1, 2021.

Covid situation in Bangladesh

Bangladesh reported 10 more Covid-linked deaths, with 6,676 fresh cases in 24 hours till Monday morning, following a sharp rise in its infection rate.

The positivity rate in the country jumped to 20.88% during the period from Sunday’s 17.82% after the testing of 31,980 samples, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

The country last logged 7,248 cases and 172 deaths on August 18, 2021, with a positivity rate at 17.67% in 24 hours.

Bangladesh is currently seeing a surge of Covid-19 cases as health authorities registered 38,478 infections in the last 16 days since January 1.

The fresh numbers took the country’s total fatalities to 28,154 while the caseload mounted to 1,624,387 Monday. The mortality rate declined a bit to 1.73%.