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22 January, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Tribunals to get 3-point High Court guidelines

Tribunals to get 3-point
High Court guidelines

The Supreme Court is going to send three-point charter of guidelines to all the district and sessions judges and tribunals concerned for expediting the trial proceedings of criminal cases filed under Special Powers Act. The guidelines, prepared in accordance with a High Court (HC) judgment, will be sent after getting approval from the chief justice. Article 109 of the Constitution, which lays down the duties of the High Court, says: “The High Court Division shall have superintendence and control over all courts and tribunals subordinate to it.” Accordingly, the HC has laid down these guidelines for the judges of the special tribunals in conducting cases under special laws.

The HC guidelines say that upon getting the case record from the magistrate, if the accused person, who is on bail, does not turn up before the tribunal, the latter must fix a date for the appearance of the accused. If the accused, once again, fails to appear before the tribunal on the fixed date, the tribunal shall order that a surety be produced in court.

If the accused does not turn up even after that, the tribunal shall proceed to complete the trial as early as possible.

The HC verdict also says that after the pronouncement of the judgment and the order of the conviction and sentence, the tribunal shall remind the defence lawyer that the accused will get only 30 days to appeal in a higher court, failing which the High Court will not entertain any application, barring some valid grounds.

The tribunal judge will then ensure that the defence lawyer has understood the cautionary directive that if he/she does not inform the client about the conviction and the right to appeal within 30 days, the advocate will face the charge of professional negligence.

The tribunal judge will then record in the order sheet that he/she has brought the cautionary directive to the notice of the defence lawyer.

The registrar general of the SC was directed to send a copy of these directives to all the district and sessions courts.

Acting Registrar General of the Supreme Court Dr Md Zakir Hossain told this correspondent yesterday that the copy of the High Court verdict is awaiting approval of the Chief Justice.

“After getting approval of the chief justice I will send the judgment to the concerned judges across the country. The apex court always tries to ensure justice for all and expeditious disposal of cases,” he added.

He also said, “We hope the lower court will able to quickly dispose of criminal cases filed under special laws after receiving the copy of the higher court verdict.”

The HC bench comprising Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar and Justice Md Rezaul Haque came up with the three-point guideline in response to a petition filed by a man named Shamim Howlader. The latter had appealed against his conviction by the special tribunal of Barisal in connection with a narcotics case.

The Barisal special tribunal awarded seven years’ rigorous imprisonment to Howlader on April 24, 2016 under the Special Powers Act. He was arrested and sent to jail. But, Shamim filed the petition in the HC, claiming that he has been in jail for more than a year for no fault of his own but due to wrong advice from his lawyer.

After scrutinising all documents and the law, the HC recalled the bail it had granted in a previous rule. Howlader was directed to immediately surrender before the chief judicial magistrate of Barisal.

However, the HC bench observed that if an accused person remains absent from the trial following the advice of the lawyer, he/she must substantiate his/her statement by bringing an allegation of professional negligence to the Bar Council first. He/she must then file an application before the HC under Section 561/A CrPC.

The court also observed that no application will be entertained from a convict who could not file an appeal within 30 days under Section 561/A CrPC unless he/she can satisfy the court that he/she is a bona fide petitioner and has come to the court with clean hands. Also, it has to be shown that the case rested on no evidence, or the trial court did not have the jurisdiction to try the case, or the trial court was not properly constituted.

A senior official of the HC told this correspondent, on condition of anonymity, that the apex court has sent the copy of the HC verdict to all the sessions judges. “We hope that the trial proceedings of the criminal cases filed under the Special Power Act or special laws will now be disposed of quickly in accordance with to the HC’s guidelines,” he added.


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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.

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