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POST TIME: 1 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Mobile court judgments
Release all convicts aged below 12: HC
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka

Release all convicts 
aged below 12: HC

The High Court yesterday directed the government to immediately release children aged under 12 years, who were kept at the Children Development Centres after getting convicted by mobile courts on various occasions. The HC also granted six-month bail to children aged between 12 and 18 years, who were convicted by the mobile courts. They should be released on submission of bail bonds to the courts concerned, according to the HC order.

“Mobile courts have no rights to punish the minors even for a day. If children are found involved in criminal activities, the children court will conduct their trial,” a HC bench comprising Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Md Mahmud Hassan Talukder came up with the observations on a suo moto move following a news published in a national daily.

A newspaper yesterday published a report on the matter headlined ‘121 children got sentenced despite legal barrier’.

Country’s mobile courts have illegally jailed 121 children for six months to one year and they have been kept at the Children Development Centre in Tongi and Jashore, according to the report.

Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Md Abdul Halim and Advocate Ishrat Hasan placed the newspaper report before the HC bench seeking necessary orders. Although relevant

juvenile laws do not permit, 121 children were sentenced on different charges by mobile court. They were sentenced to jail for 3 months to 1 year by the mobile courts, the report added.

In its order, the HC bench asked the authorities concerned of the government to submit the documents of the cases, in which the children were punished. They should be released subject to satisfaction of the concerned children’s court, the HC bench observed.

At the same time, the HC bench asked the magistrates concerned to prepare separate files on the cases against the children convicted by mobile courts and kept in the children’s development centre.

It asked the concerned magistrates of mobile courts to submit the files before the HC bench within seven working days.

The HC bench fixed November 18 for delivering further order on the matter.

It also issued a rule asking the authorities to explain why the conviction of the children by mobile courts should not be declared illegal. Secretaries of home, local government and rural development, welfare, women and children affairs ministry, director general of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), executive magistrates of RAB-3 and 4  Sarwar Alam and Akhtaruzzaman respectively and law officer of Mirpur 1 executive magistrate  Nizam Uddin Ahmed have been made respondents to reply to the rule within four weeks.

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