Corrupt Shalishkers Obstacles in the Way of Ensuring Fair Justice

village shalish
Village means the ultimate feeling of love. The people of the village have been living in the society together, share all their pains and pleasures to each other. There was no violence or hatred. To show sincerity to each other was the essential principle of society. When a small dispute arises, the respected and local elders of the village would match it. The village Shalish was the judicial system of the village-based local folk society. The village arbitration council or Shalish is an institution that goes back to traditional forms of conflict resolution through mediation. In the past, tow types of Justice systems were prevalent in our country in rural areas. Shalish was one of those systems. Although the system of Shalish is the same throughout the country, there are still differences in Shalish at the local level based on custom and tradition. The members of the Shalish (or Shalishi Parishad) meeting are called Shalishkers.

Shalish is playing an important role in resolving disputes and maintaining social peace, tranquility in the rural area. In the same way, Shalish has saved the rural people from the suffering and hazards of the formal courts. In addition to the state Justice system, Shalish or the social justice system has brought peace and security to the people in order to eliminate various inconsistencies and injustices in society. And the implementation of these activities has been possible for some beneficent Shalishkers. The Shalishkers considered themselves proud by expressing their sense of responsibility and morality in these voluntary works. But over time, that is likely to change.

Village Shalish or social justice system is not contradictory to existing laws rather it is a recognized judicial system by law. The practice of shalish has been going on since ancient times. There are many aspects of Shalish or social justice system such as:
A.  Creating a judicial structure based on a preliminary concept.
B.  Assimilate the statements of both parties and concerned persons by following a specific course of action.
C.  Verify the signs of the incident and complete other ancillary work.
D.  Identify judicial issues.
E.  To make a self-reliant and practical decision based on the analysis of all aspects of the case.

But it is a matter of regret that in some cases these simple approaches are complicated by some greedy Shalishkers. Helpless accusers of the village have to suffer extreme misery. At one stage, thus helpless people get in frustration and violence spread in the society. Society is going towards evil consequences.

shalishi parishad
In the past, Shalishkers tried to reach a mutual understanding without any conflict between disputing parties. Moreover, the Shalishkers took part in the Shalish meeting without any exchange. They participated in Shalish only for social brotherhood. But with the passage of time Shalish ( or shalishi Parishad) has been used as a source of income for some vested interested Shalishkers. These hired Shalishkers have no visible source of income. The profession of these greedy Shalishkers is that if there is a dispute between the two parties, then they create support on behalf of a party. The party who gives more money or gifts will give strong support on behalf of this party. They sometimes do not satisfy with one party's money. They take money from all parties. In this way, Shalish has been converted from an instrument of rendering service to people to a mechanism of business and interest.

Then there is the matter of deposits. A large sum of money is said to be deposited by the disputing parties for the smooth completion of the Shalish. The issue of depositing money is nothing but embezzlement of money from both parties. Moreover, these corrupt Shalishkers never want the Shalish to end soon. Because, if the Shalish is completed early, first of all, they have no chance to capitalize on the disputing parties. Secondly, they have to face the difficult reality of returning the deposit. There is also the example that, Year after year has passed but the Shalish is not ending.

In the past, Shalish was an important system of resolving disputes in rural areas. The role of the state system as well as the rural arbitration system in eliminating various inconsistencies in the society was commendable. Shalish has saved the lives of many rudderless people. Liberating society from innumerable conflicts and anarchy.

Conflicts and disputes are part of our life. Disputes can occur in society for a variety of reasons. And these disputing issues do not have to be taken to court in all cases. And this has been possible because of some benevolent people in society. These benevolent people always tried to resolve any dispute in society by sacrificing their own interests. The role of village Shalish is undeniable even at present. The capacity of the courts of the country to take trial is not increasing. On the other hand, the amount of social conflict among the people is increasing day by day. Where a court takes many years to settle a trial, the Shalish system settles the dispute in a very short time.

Moreover, rural people always try to avoid the lengthy and expensive process of formal courts. These people want small disputes to be settled locally without going to court. The greedy Shalishkers exploit this simplicity of the helpless villagers and harass them. Now, these people are biased in somehow before sitting in the Shalish. Ignoring the principle of justice,  became attracted to bias. Thus social acceptance of Shalish is declining over the years; however, finding no feasible alternatives in hand marginalized people of the Village area still depends on Shalish very much.

Bangladesh is one of the developing countries in the world and most of its population lives in villages. So, Shalish is very important for rural people. In this situation, the benefactors of society have to come forward to uphold the tradition of the village Shalish or social justice. Society needs to get rid of these hired Shalishkers. People must be freed from the sword of punishment called injustice in the name of justice. The position of these selfish Shalishkers in society is definitely not strong. They made loud noises and were not strong enough to speak fluently. They look glamorous, but inside they are empty.

Shah Jahan Al Sadaf
Student, Department of Law
Comilla University, Bangladesh

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