The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh has been provided
for in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Article 94(1) of the Constitution provides that there shall be Supreme
Court for Bangladesh comprising the Appellate Division and the High
Court Division. These two Divisions of the Supreme Court have separate
jurisdictions. The sources of this jurisdiction, apart from the
Constitution, are general laws (Acts of Parliament) of the country.
Jurisdiction of the Appellate Division
The Constitution has conferred on the Appellate Division the following
a. Appellate Jurisdiction: Article 103 of the
Constitution provides that the Appellate Division shall have jurisdiction
to hear and determine appeals from judgments, decrees, orders
or sentences of the High Court Division. An appeal to the Appellate
Division shall lie as of right where the High Court Division-
(a) certifies that the case involves a substantial question of
law as to the interpretation of the Constitution; or (b) has sentenced
or confirmed the sentence of a person to death or to imprisonment
for life; or (c) has imposed punishment on a person for contempt
of that division; and in other cases if the Appellate Division
grants leave to appeal and also pursuant to Acts of Parliament.
b. Issue and execution of processes of Appellate Division:
Under article 104, the Appellate Division shall have power to
issue such directions, orders, decrees or writs as may be necessary
for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before
it, including orders for the purpose of securing the attendance
of any person or the discovery or production of any document.
c. Power of Review: Article 105 provides that
the Appellate Division shall have power, subject to the provisions
of any Act of Parliament and of any rules made by the Division,
to review any judgment pronounced or any order made by it. Part
IV, Order XXVI of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh (Appellate Division)
Rules, 1988 deals with the power and procedural matters of review
of the Appellate Division.
d. Advisory Jurisdiction: Article 106 of the
Constitution provides that if at any time it appears to the President
that question of law has arisen, or is likely to arise, which
is of such a nature and of such public importance that it is expedient
to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court upon it, he may refer
the question to the Appellate Division for consideration and the
Division may, after such hearing as it thinks fit, report its
opinion thereon to the President.
e. Rule making power of the Supreme Court: Subject
to any law made by Parliament, the Supreme Court may with the
approval of the President, make rules for regulating the practice
and procedure of each Division of the Supreme Court and of any
Court subordinate to it.
Jurisdiction of the High Court Division
Article 101 of the Constitution provides that the High Court Division
shall have such original, appellate and other jurisdictions, powers
and functions as are or may be conferred on it by the Constitution
or any other law.
a. Original Jurisdiction: Original jurisdiction
of the High Court Division means that jurisdiction whereby it
can hear a case or suit as Court of first instance. The Constitution
has conferred on the High Court Division special Original Jurisdiction
under Article 102 of the Constitution, under which the High Court
Division can enforce fundamental rights guaranteed in Part III
of the Constitution and can also exercise its power of judicial
review. There are some other ordinary laws (Acts of Parliament)
namely, The Companies Act, 1994; The Admiralty Court Act, 2000;
The Bank Companies Act, 1991; Will and Probate under Succession
Act, 1925; The Divorce Act, 1869; The Representation of the People
Order, 1972; Bangladesh Merchant Shipping Ordinance, 1983; The
Contempt of Courts Act, 1926 etc.) which fall under the ordinary/original
jurisdiction of the High Court Division. Further jurisdiction
of the High Court Division is guided by the Code of Civil Procedure,
1908 and The Supreme Court (High Court Division) Rules, 1973.
b. Appellate Jurisdiction: Any law may confer
on the High Court Division appellate jurisdiction on any matter.
The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898; The Code of Civil Procedure,
1908; Section 42 of Value Added Tax Act, 1991; Section 196D of
the Customs Act, 1969 etc and the High Court Division Rules, 1973
have conferred on the High Court Division appellate jurisdiction.
c. Revisional Jurisdiction: (a) Section 115
of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 has conferred on the High
Court Division the revisional jurisdiction. The High Court Division
may examine the decisions of the courts subordinate to it.
(b) Section 439 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 has conferred
on the High Court Division the revisional jurisdiction as to criminal
matters of the courts subordinate to it. Furthermore, the High
Court Division has inherent power under section 561A of the Code
of Criminal Procedure, to make such orders as may be necessary
to give effect to any order under this Code or to prevent abuse
of the process of any court or otherwise to secure the ends of
d. Review Jurisdiction: Section 114 of The Code
of Civil Procedure, 1908 has conferred on the High Court Division
the review jurisdiction. The High Court Division Rules, 1973 Part
II, Chapter X and Order XLVII of the Code of Civil Procedure,
1908 deal with the procedural matters of review.
e. Jurisdiction as to Superintendence and Control over
Courts Subordinate to it: Article 109 of the Constitution
provides that the High Court Division shall have superintendence
and control over all Courts and Tribunals subordinate to it.
f. Transfer of cases from subordinate Courts to the High
Under Article 110 of the Constitution if the High Court Division
is satisfied that a case pending in a Court subordinate to it
involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation
of the Constitution, or on a point of general public importance,
the determination of which is necessary for the disposal of the
case, it shall withdraw the case from that Court and may- (a)
either dispose of the case itself; or (b) determine the question
of law and return the case to the Court from which it has been
so withdrawn (or transfer it to another subordinate Court) together
with a copy of the judgment of the Division on such question,
and the court to which the case is so returned or transferred
shall, on receipt thereof, proceed to dispose of the case in conformity
with such judgment.
Apart from the above, section 113 of The Code of Civil Procedure
1908 gives jurisdiction to the High Court Division to give opinion
and order on a case referred to it by any subordinate Court by
way of reference. Under section 160 of the Income Tax Ordinance,
1984 the High Court Division is empowered to hear income tax references.
Section 24 of The Code of Civil Procedure provides for transfer
of cases of the civil Courts and section 526 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure provides for transfer of cases under criminal jurisdiction
of the subordinate Courts.
The Lawazima Court is presided over by the Registrar. This court
deals with the procedural matters for making the cases ready for