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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Why to choose Arbitration to resolve Land Dispute in Bangladesh?

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Land is the well precious property of all assets that a human being can have as it is the component of social and economic enlargement of any society. Land is a manifestation of the standing of a given community in the sense that, economics of a community is defined by the nature of land it has. The value of land in terms of economic growth and development of any given country is enormous. In Bangladesh for example, majority of the population derives their main livelihood from agriculture and livestock sector activities which all depend on land. Being most valuable land has to be administered with due process.

Legally Land is a real property. Land as a property in legal sense it has an aggregate of rights attached to it which are guaranteed and protected by law. Its domination or indefinite right of use or disposition which one may lawfully exercise over particular thing or subject is what gives its value and therefore protection of its interest. Land as real property is inherent in every sovereign state by exercising its powers of eminent domain to expropriate land without owners consent. In other words there is no deprivation of real property (land) without any sanction of the law.

Hence, our interest in land is universal and it is one of the human rights which are protected by the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Conversely, where there is an interest, there is a dispute. Accordingly, land dispute results from land interest. Although, appropriate land laws, elevated thought-out land administration, vibrant land management in an background of good governance, and above all alternative mechanism of dispute resolution may condense land dispute into a endurable height.

According to a report of Justice Audit Bangladesh 2019, the Courts of Bangladesh have a total of 34 million case backlogs across the country and only 13 percent of the population receiving judicial services from courts across the country. In fact, the audit report projected that if the growths of pending cases continue at this pace, by 2022, the District courts and the High Court Division would have 82 to 89 percent of their respective cases pending.

It is heartening to hear from the Law Minister that the government is taking initiatives to settle the enormous number of pending cases in the courts and that at least five to six lakh cases will be cleared from the existing backlog within the year. Yet, these kinds of assurances from the ministry was made so many times but unfortunately, have not been followed by any significant reform in the justice system and this burden of undisposed cases can slow down the management of the courts and might increase the cost of case disposal. For this, people might be discouraged to take their disputes before the courts and be encouraged to get favourable solutions through extrajudicial means or muscle power. In such a situation, people’s faith in the rule of law may decrease, and impatience and violence may rise in the society.

Presently, there is no standardized mechanism for resolving land disputes in Bangladesh. In fact, the Revenue Officer, the Civil Court, the Village Court or Municipal Board may settle land disputes.

In the context of its limited number of judges, inadequate judge-population ratio, insufficient budget allocation for the judiciary and lack of infrastructure in the legal system, the reliance on Arbitration becomes just a demand of the time. Given that many developed and developing countries have gained tremendous success in reducing pending cases by adopting Arbitration, Bangladesh should find and try ways and means to develop Arbitration mechanism in the same craze. In case of any disputes arising during land survey and recording, it can be resolved with the help of NGO, CSO and local government bodies such as Union Parishad (UP) representatives.

Most of the Bangladeshis are predominantly dependent on land for their daily living. Apposite management of land can shield the interests of the bona fide cultivators and make their lives better-off and well again. To this end in view, the significance of reshuffling and pioneering arbitration as a means of alternative dispute resolution in the land management and land administration by making amendment to the existing laws or enacting laws where necessary cannot be inflated.



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Md. Mamonor Rashid
Mr. Md. Mamonor Rashid served as theEditor of Law & Rights of the Diplomat Gazette. Besides he is an Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh and a Legal Researcher with an unyielding affluence of know-how in different legal arenas spotlighting on international commercial arbitration, commercial disputes, company laws, Tax Laws, VAT laws, Labor and Employment Laws , Real Estate & Land related matters . He is also recognized for his research experiences. Mr. Rashid has co-authored three books on International Law and Commercial Arbitration and written 100 + (Hundred) articles on the various legal issues published in scholarly Law Journals and Daily Newspapers. He is a Young Professional Member of HKIAC Hong Kong, SIAC Singapore, and LCIA London.
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