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Arrest by lawmen in plainclothes alarming: Supreme Court
Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that incidents of arresting people by the law enforcers in plainclothes are alarming.

The apex court made the observation while hearing a long-pending appeal against High Court directives on the detention of any person under suspicion and subsequent dealings with the detainees on remand.

A four-member bench the Appellate Division of the SC headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha concluded the hearing of the appeal and fixed May 24 for delivering its verdict on it.

The court said the HC had given some specific directives on the detention of any person and subsequent dealings with the detainees on remand 13 years back, but the government did not implement any of them.

A son of a freedom fighter, who was the bodyguard of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was allegedly picked up by some people claiming to be law enforcers, but he was yet to be traced, it said.

The Code of Criminal Procedure is a colonial law, it said. Malaysia and India have amended it but Bangladesh has not, it added.

On April 7, 2003, the HC issued 15-point directives barring the government from arresting any person under the Special Powers Act. The HC ruled that some provisions of Section 54 under the CrPC pertaining to arrest on suspicion, and Section 167 dealing with remand, were not consistent with the fundamental rights. It asked the government to amend the relevant sections of the CrPC within six months from the date of the ruling. The HC also made it mandatory for a police officer to produce a person before the magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. It said a person arrested under Section 54 cannot be placed on police remand for interrogation without any nod of the metropolitan sessions judge or the district and sessions judge.

The HC verdict came upon a writ petition filed as public interest litigation (PIL) by human rights groups and individuals following the tragic death in police custody of Shamim Reza Rubel, a student of Independent University, on July 23, 1998.

The writ petition was jointly filed by BLAST, Ain-o-Shalish Kendra, Sammilita Samajik Andolan, Sabita Rani Chakroborty, Syed Anwarul Haq, Sultanuzzaman Khan, Ummun Naser and Prof Maniruzzaman Hyat Mamud on November 29, 1998.

The government had filed the appeal with the SC on August 2, 2003, against the HC verdict.

Today, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told the court that the HC directives are not proper due to the socio economic situation of the country.

If the accused is given huge protection, the law and order situation may be deteriorated, he added.

Writ petitioners’ lawyer M Amir-Ul Islam opposed the appeal, saying that the laws which are contrary to the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution can be scrapped.