During hearing on a review petition, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Thursday opined that the incidents of disappearance of the citizens should be stopped.
A judge of the six-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, passed the opinion during the hearing on the petition.
The government filed the petition to review a judgement delivered on arrest of anyone without warrant under Section 54 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
"Arrest under Section 54 may happen in our case too. If someone disappears without trace for five years, who will take the responsibility for this?" the court questioned.
The Appellate Division also expressed its anger as the government didn't implement the High Court verdict even in long 17 years. "What is the benefit of delivering a verdict? Is it eyewash?" it further questioned.
Addressing the government counsel, the court said, "We will not review the full verdict. You can specify the objections and submit a written statement."
After the hearing, the court fixed April 16, 2020 for further hearing on the petition, said Barrister Sara Hossain who appeared in the court on behalf of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST).
BLAST, Ain o Salish Kendra, Sommilito Samajik Andolon and several individuals filed a writ petition with the High Court in 1998, challenging police powers to arrest anyone without warrant under Section 54 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrCP) and take the accused into remand (police custody) under Section 167 of CrPC.
The High Court initially issued a rule nisi. After full hearing, it delivered judgment on April 7, 2003 observing that Sections 54 and 167 of CrPC are not fully 'consistent' with constitutionally guaranteed freedom and safeguard.
The court made a comprehensive set of recommendations regarding necessary amendments to both sections of CrPC, along with the Police Act, the Penal Code and the Evidence Act, and directed that these should be acted upon within six months.
It also laid down a set of fifteen guidelines with regard to exercise of the power of arrest and remand.
Later, the government preferred an appeal in 2004. After hearing, an Appellate Division bench, headed by then Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, dismissed the government's appeal petition on May 24, 2016 making some recommendations. Then the government filed a review petition with the Supreme Court in 2017, seeking review of its verdict that upheld the High Court order.
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