No plain clothe arrest, no police custody remand, no detention after 54 arrest: historic judgement of SC

Arrested

The Bangladesh Supreme Court(SC) today (24.05.16)  in a historic judgment  has upheld the High Court directives on arrest and remand of someone without any warrant under sections 54 and 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Court upheld High Court directive with some modifications and guidelines to stop police force from making arbitrary arrests on suspicion and torturing arrestees on remand.

By the Supreme Court verdict now Government and police authorities are barred from-

  1. Plain clothe arrest
  2. Poilice custody remand and
  3. Detention after arrest under section 54

The HC directive came On April 7 in 2003 upon a writ petition filed by a group of human rights organisations and individuals following the tragic death in police custody of Shamim Reza Rubel, a student of Independent University on July 23, 1998. In its judgment, the HC issued 15-point directives barring the government from arresting any person under the Special Powers Act after picking him/her up on suspicion.

The government had filed the appeal with the SC on August 2 in 2003 against the HC verdict. A four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha dismissed an appeal filed by the government challenging the HC verdict

The Daily Star reports, the writ petitioners’ counsel Dr Kamal Hossain said the apex court has apparently upheld the HC verdict with some modifications and guidelines about arresting a person on suspicion and taking a person on remand.

The modifications and observations will be known when the full judgement of the SC verdict is release, Dr Kamal said.

Directives of the court

According to The Bangla Tribune , The Dhaka Tribune and other news media

1..The High Court said that the police must not arrest anyone under section 54 to put him/her into detention.

2.Police will show their identity cards while arresting the person and must inform the person about the reason behind the arrest within three hours.

3.The law enforcers will inform the relatives of the detainee within an hour of the arrest through telephone or a messenger. The detainee will be allowed to meet relatives for legal assistance.

4.If the police want to quiz the person in custody, they will need to take permission from a magistrate while the interrogation must take place in a glass-made room inside the prison. The relatives and lawyers of the detainee can be presented outside the room.

5.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.

6.The detainee must be checked by a doctor before and after the interrogation, the High Court said.

7.If the arrestee alleges physical torture during the interrogation, the magistrate will form a medical board promptly to check his/her health condition. If the allegation is found to be true, the magistrate will take action against the police members responsible under section 330 of the CrPC.

High-Court

The court also ruled that sections 54 and 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) dealing with the arrest on suspicion and subsequent remand respectively were not consistent with the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

The HC asked the government to amend the relevant sections of the CrPC within six months from the date of the ruling.

The court also made it mandatory for a police officer to produce a person before the magistrate within 24 hours of arrest.

Author : Harun Ur Rashid

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