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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 200
July 30, 2005

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Human rights monitor

Section 54 and 167 of CrPC: Some recommendations

Shadeka Jahan

Arbitrary arrest under section 54 of Cr.P.C is a common practice of entire Bangladesh. The Law Enforcement Agencies are always accused for abusing their powers.

In the year 1998 Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) filed a writ petition (BLAST VS. Bangladesh reported in 55 DLR page-363) and got specific recommendations and 15 point directions from the High Court Division of Bangladesh. The judgment was delivered by Hon'ble Justice Hamidul Haq and Justice Salma Masud Chowdhury.

BLAST organized a roundtable on "Seeking Effective Remedies: Prevention of Arbitrary Arrests and Freedom from Torture and Custodial Violence" held on 7th April, 2005 in CIRDAP Auditorium. Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs was chief guest of the roundtable. The Ex Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Mr. Abdul Matin Khosru, Justice Habibur Rahman Khan, Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud, Dr. Shahdeen Malik, Advocate Nizamul Haq Nasim, Advocate Khan Saifur Rahman were the special guest of the program. Beside this many civil society members, Lawyers, NGO and Media representatives attended the roundtable meeting.

Some important recommendations were come up through this meeting, such as:
- Sufficient Human rights training should be given to the police personnel.
- A good number of people suggested to establish a monitoring cell in different thanas to figure out whether there is any abuse of power by the police under section 54 and 167 of Cr PC or not.
- There should be equality and fairness at the time of recruitment and training of the police.
- The Government receives donations for many unproductive sectors which remain idle and this money can be used to increase the number of police and police reform.
- Police must behave humane with the person arrested and if there is good discussion between police and the person arrested then the trend of violence will be reduced.
- The government must establish police ombudsmen.
- Police commissioners should be made responsible to find out the causes of abuse of police power.
- Some people recommended that, BLAST should take steps to provide necessary awareness training to the police. Further some participants suggests that BLAST should send there representative to every thana to monitor the situation.
- Police should be kept free from any Political influence.
- The benefits like salary, Ration, bonus of the Police should be increased, otherwise they can't work fairly.
- If a person is arrested without any sufficient ground and harassed by the police, then the police must be forced to give compensation to the arrestee, so that the abusing tendency of the police power reduces.

Actually arbitrary arrest and custodial violence is a universal problem. It is true that police have legal duty and have right to arrest and interrogate the offenders. But he should be aware that law does not permit him to torture or treated any inhumane behavior with the arrestee during the time of investigation or questioning. So awareness among police and general people is necessary.

The writer is an advocate and human rights activist, presently working for BLAST.


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