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20 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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HC wants info on release of convicted children

STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka

The High Court (HC) yesterday directed the government to provide information on how many children under 12 years of age had been released from children development centres where they were detained after being convicted by mobile courts. The government was also ordered to state how many children aged between 12 and 18 years, who were convicted by the mobile courts, had been released so far. In addition, the government had been asked to provide information about the children’s guardians following their release.

The HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Md Mahmud Hassan Talukder ordered the government to comply with its directives by next Tuesday. On October 31, the same HC bench, in a suo moto move, had directed the government to immediately release children under the age of 12 years who were detained at the children development centres following their conviction by mobile courts.

The HC also granted six-months’ bail to convicted children within the age group of 12 and 18 years. These children must be released upon submission of bail bonds to the courts concerned, according to the HC order.

The HC bench came up with the directives following a news report published in a national daily under the headline ‘121 children got sentenced despite legal barrier’.

The country’s mobile courts have illegally jailed 121 children for six months to one year, and these children have been held at the children development centres in Tongi and Jessore, according to the report.

Supreme Court lawyer barrister Md Abdul Halim and advocate Ishrat Hasan placed the newspaper report before the HC bench. Although the relevant juvenile laws do not permit it, 121 children were convicted of different charges by mobile courts. They were sentenced to jail for three months to a year by the mobile courts, the report added.

In its order, the HC bench asked the authorities concerned to submit the documentation for the cases involving the detained children. The bench observed that these papers should be released subject to the satisfaction of the children’s court concerned.

The HC bench also asked the mobile court magistrates to prepare separate files on the cases. These files are to be submitted before the HC bench within seven working days.

The bench also asked the authorities to explain why convictions of the children by mobile courts should not be declared illegal.

Secretaries of the home, local government and rural development, social welfare, and women’s and children’s affairs ministries; the director general of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB); RAB-3 and RAB-4 executive magistrates Sarwar Alam and Akhtaruzzaman, respectively; and Mirpur-1 executive magistrate Nizam Uddin Ahmed have been made respondents. They have been ordered to reply to the ruling within four weeks.

According to the Children’s Act, at least one juvenile court will be formed in a district or metropolitan area. If a case is filed against a child, the juvenile court will try him/her for whatever crimes he/she commits.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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