DCs want mobile court jurisdiction expandedMustafizur Rahman
The deputy commissioners on Tuesday sought the authority to take cognisance of offences in order to curb crimes more effectively against the backdrop of sliding law and order.
On the first day of the three-day annual conference of deputy commissioners, the district administrators told the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, that the police force should be made available on demand to operate mobile courts and other drives to protect interests of the state as well as maintain law and order in an effective manner, said officials.
Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the conference at her office in the morning, which was followed by working sessions with different ministries, including home affairs, education and finance, at the cabinet division.
‘The deputy commissioners have stressed the need for an amendment to the law so that they could operate mobile courts more effectively to maintain law and order,’ cabinet secretary Mohammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said.
He said the district administrators had also suggested that government officials should be included in the management committees of schools and colleges besides elected representatives to ensure quality in appointment of teachers and education as well.
In the meeting behind closed doors with the prime minister, the deputy commissioners, who also hold the rank of district magistrates, again sought an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedures so that the executive magistrates got back the authority to take cognisance of offences and could hold summary trial. The same demand was raised in the past conference.
A deputy commissioner told New Age that mobile courts could hold summary trial only when the accused confessed to their guilt.
The DCs asked the government to expand the jurisdiction of the mobile court by allowing executive magistrates to conduct ‘summary trials’.
At least 15 deputy commissioners, including the DCs of Dhaka, Jessore, Naogaon, Joypurhat and Dinajpur, spoke in the meeting with the prime minister, raising the issues that affected discharge of their responsibilities.
After separation of the judiciary from the executive in November 2007, magistrates do not have legal authority to conduct summary trials in case an accused denies the allegation.
The DCs from all 64 districts along with the seven divisional commissioners are attending the conference divided into 20 working sessions with 38 ministries. The conference concludes on Thursday.
The divisional commissioner of Chittagong, Serajul Huq Khan, in his written proposal suggested that the government should immediately take steps to fence the 180km border with Myanmar by barbed wire to check intrusion of Rohingyas and help maintain law and order in the region.
The field administrators, also responsible for maintaining law and order, pointed out at the working session with the home minister, Sahara Khatun, that they could not effectively stop illegal entry of Rohingyas and also smuggling through the border as law enforcers could not patrol the frontier areas having no roads, said officials.
The prime minister directed the DCs to arrest price spiral before Ramadan, expedite ADP implementation on a priority basis and use the internet for quick service delivery to the public.
‘I have recommended that land development taxes in urban areas should be increased to a reasonable extent as housing projects are expanding,’ Dhaka’s deputy commissioner Md Mohibul Haque told New Age.
He also suggested inclusion of land management in school syllabus.
The district administrators again raised the point with the prime minister that they could not perform as expected and found it difficult to protect national interests in many cases ‘for fear of contempt of court’ and also because of ‘inefficient attorneys’, a number of deputy commissioners observed.
The field administrators also assured the prime minister that they could mobilise funds at local levels for the Padma Bridge construction as the government had decided to implement the mega project with its own funds.
The cabinet secretary told reporters that the prime minister had taken a positive view of the recommendations made by the DCs and asked them to help the government in making Bangladesh a self-reliant nation.
The deputy commissioners will formally discuss 460 problems and recommendations in the working sessions to be attended by ministers and secretaries.
The DC of Netrakona complained that the operations of mobile courts against various crimes were affected due to lack of police force.
At the working session, education minister Nurul Islam Nahid told the deputy commissioners that the existing rules would be maintained in formation of the governing bodies, but in case of corruption, the government would show zero tolerance.
He asked the DCs to take measures against ‘coaching business’ across the country in line with the education ministry’s guidelines.
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