Staff Correspondent :
Dhaka – Bangladeshi government has approved the draft of an ordinance to be promulgated shortly to allow the judicial activities using digital technologies amid the shutdown triggered by the global pandemic of novel coronavirus, officials said on Thursday.
The weekly meeting of the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the go ahead to the draft of the proposed ordinance styled Information Technology Usage Ordinance 2020, said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told a news conference.
Once the ordinance is promulgated by the President of the republic, judicial services, including holding of the trials, will be available through video conferencing or other mode of digital devices.
Activities of the courts have been suspended since Bangladesh imposed the shutdown on March 26 to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. But the need was being felt that the courts to be opened as the number of pending cases with different courts is high.
Formulation of legal framework is necessary to keep the trial process in the courts operative through digital methods, the cabinet secretary said.
The pending cases are stockpiled due to the nationwide shutdown over the COVID-19 pandemic, he said adding that the ordinance was proposed to get rid of the situation.
Once the ordinance comes into force, trials could be held digitally without having physical presence of lawyers and their clients in the courts.
The ordinance was brought to the cabinet for its approval as the many public and private offices have been shut for more than a month over the virus pandemic.
The litigants, he said, have also been deprived of getting the justice alongside the increase in the number of pending cases because of the pandemic.
Since parliament is not in session, a presidential promulgation is necessary to have the legal framework for the usage of digital technology in court. The ordinance will be ratified by parliament during its next sitting.
The cabinet also gave final approval to “The Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty (Amendment) Act, 2020” and “The Income-tax Amendment Ordinance, 2020” during the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s official Ganabhaban residence.