The Cabinet on Monday approved the ‘Mobile Court (Amendment) Bill 2015’ to empower such court to punish offenders even if one does not confess to the offence.
The approval, subject to the Law Ministry’s vetting, came from the Cabinet’s weekly regular meeting held at the Cabinet Room of the Jatiya Sangsad with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.Later, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan briefed reporters at the Bangladesh Secretariat about the meeting’s outcome.
According to the Mobile Court Act, he said, now there is no scope to punish anyone if he or she does not confess to the offence during the mobile court proceedings.
“After the passage of this Bill, the Mobile Court will be empowered to punish taking into consideration the witnesses and the surroundings of the committed offence,” he said.
In 2009, the government enacted the Mobile Court Act aiming to conduct drives against adulteration, eve teasing, corruption and copying in public examinations, and maintaining law and order during elections and ensuring public safety through speedy trial.
The Cabinet Secretary said one of the main limitations of the current law is that many people commit offence, but plead not guilty. And under the existing law, a person cannot be punished without his or her confession about the offence.
Musharraf Hossain said the Home Ministry prepared the draft of the law after a series of consultations and inter-ministerial meetings and in light of the suggestions of DCs’ conference 2013, Cabinet’s guideline and recommendation of a workshop at Prime Minister Office (PMO) on mobile court last year.
The new law has incorporated the provision of using information and communication technology for disposal of cases by mobile courts. “For example, electronic signature and biometrics will be accepted in the court,” the Cabinet Secretary said.
Besides, executive magistrates can take the opinions of experts about disposing of a case, particularly of those of food adulteration.
Musharraf Hossain said the law was basically enacted to conduct anti-adulteration drive, prevent stalking and sexual harassment of women, holding public examinations in a copying-free atmosphere and maintaining peace and order during elections and ensuring security to people.
About 5.5 lakh cases were disposed of over the last four years under the Mobile Court Act and the amendment would bring qualitative change in the country’s judicial system, he said.
He said the Cabinet also approved in principle the drafts of the Bangladesh Industrial Enterprises (Nationalisation) Bill 2015 and the Jute Bill, 2015.
The Bangladesh Industrial Enterprises (Nationalisation) law was originally the President Order 27 of 1972 and amended 10 times over six years, with one amendment being made during martial law.
The law became null and void following the High Court verdict declaring the fifth and seventh amendments to the Constitution illegal.
Similarly, the Jute Law of 1962 was also amended several times, including one in 1983 during the martial law period and declared illegal by the higher court.
As per the earlier decision of the Cabinet, both the laws were presented before the Cabinet in Bangla with necessary updates.
Reports on the visit of Bangladesh delegation to the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada headed by the Industry Minister from March 30, April 11 this year and participation of Bangladesh delegation to the Business and Climate Summit in Paris led by the Environment and Forests Minister on May 20-21 were placed before the Cabinet.
Cabinet members and State Ministers concerned attended the meeting. Secretaries concerned were also present.- unb