POST TIME: 16 September, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Widen use of probation to rectify convicts
High Court asks lower court judges

Widen use of probation 
to rectify convicts

Over a year ago, a woman and her husband were beaten by their neighbour in Chowbaria village under Paba upazila of Rajshahi. The neighbour also sold the couple's cattle and drove them out of their own house. Following the incident, the woman, Angura, filed a case with a lower court in Rajshahi against her neighbour, Jamirul, and three others. Md Saiful Islam, senior judicial magistrate of Rajshahi court, sentenced Jamirul to one-and-half years’ rigorous imprisonment, while the three others received six months’ jail terms in connection with the case.

After the court verdict, the convicted persons appealed to the court seeking a stay order on their punishment and release on probation in accordance with the Probation of Offenders Ordinance, 1960. A probation order refers to a directive by the court under Section 5 of the Probation of Offenders Ordinance-1960, which allows convicted persons conditional release without sending them to jail under the supervision of a probation officer. In this case, the court stayed the sentences and sent convicts on probation for one year under the supervision of a probation officer, giving them a chance to rectify themselves.

They did not violate the court’s conditions. The probation officer also gave a favourable report about them after completion of one year of their probation.

Finally, the court acquitted them of the charges, according to sources.

Jamirul and three others of Rajshahi were able to rectify themselves under the probation of offenders’ ordinance. The law gives all convicts, who receive simple imprisonment, to change themselves without going to jail.

To make the ordinance more effective, the Supreme Court (SC) recently issued a directive to lower court judges to allow convicts to go on probation in order to rectify themselves,

if the court felt there was a scope to do so. Law minister Anisul Huq told this correspondent that the Supreme Court gave the directive for more effectiveness of the Probation of Offenders Ordinance-1960.

Now, the lower court will implement the apex court directive, if there is a congenial atmosphere. “After considering all documents, relevant facts and circumstances, the lower court would implement the Supreme Court directive regarding this issue,” he explained.

Talking to this correspondent,

barrister Shafique Ahmed welcomed the SC’s initiative.

Explaining the provision of this ordinance, the former law minister said the court, under this law, allows convicts who had committed no serious offences to lead normal lives but imposes certain restrictions. He pointed out that the probation of offenders’ ordinance was frequently exercised abroad. He also said it should also be used more frequently in Bangladesh in people’s interest.

According to the National Justice Audit information, lower courts have issued a total of 1,763 orders under the Probation of Offenders Ordinance-1960. Among them, chief judicial magistrate’s courts issued a total of 1,486 orders, chief metropolitan magistrate’s courts issued 177 orders, chowki adalots issued 100 orders.

However, the probation officers received only 126 orders, according to sources.

As per the Probation of Offenders Ordinance-1960, any male person convicted of an offence not being an offence under Chapter VI or Chapter VII of the Penal Code, or under Sections 216A, 328, 382, 386, 387, 388, 389, 392, 393, 397, 398, 399, 401, 402, 455, or 458 of that Code, or an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, can take the opportunity of this ordinance.

Any female person convicted of any offence other than an offence punishable with death can also take advantage of the Probation of Offenders Ordinance, 1960.