Apr 04, 2012

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Stalemate For Land Commission

The controversial Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission had once again to postpone hearings due to protests over its legitimacy.

Below is an article published by New Age:

Quorum crisis once again foiled the move to hear cases by Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission on Sunday as members of the commission from hill communities remained absent.

The commission chair Justice Khademul Islam and the representative of Chittagong division commissioner Nurul Islam, who is an additional commissioner, were present for the hearing of 48 land dispute cases but they postponed the hearing due to quorum crisis.

The chief of Mong circle, Saching Prue Chowdhury, and the chairman of Khagrachari hill district council, Kujendra Lal Tripura, remained absent. The commission chair on Thursday said it would hear cases on Sunday and Monday if there was quorum.
The commission secretary, Abdul Hamid, told New Age that the commission could not hear cases as the quorum was not filled. It requires three members to fill the quorum.

He also said the commission would again sit on Monday. ‘If the commission fails to hear cases again, fresh dates will be set till the commission serves out its tenure.’
Hamid said more than 5,000 applications for resolving land disputes have been filed with the commission and it has sorted out 3,000 for hearing. Among them 48 were finalised for first hearing. 

Kujendra Lal told New Age that he was invited to a meeting of the commission but there was no mention of hearing cases or any judicial activity. ‘Besides, right now I am out of Khagrachari.  So it was not possible for me to attend that “meeting”,’ he said.

Moves for hearing cases by the commission were also foiled on February 28 and 29 as no third member came to fill the quorum. 

Hill people and organisations agitated against the commission’s move for hearing the cases before amending the 2001 act regarding the commission. 

Some organisations also threatened to go for putting blockades on roads and water ways in the hill districts if the commission continued to hear cases.

The national committee on the implementation of Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord at a meeting in Khagrachari on December 26, 2010 had announced suspension of all activities of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission till the 2001 act was amended. 

The decision also followed widespread protests from hill people when the commission was set for hearing cases.