A flagrant court order violation by police

IN A landmark verdict delivered in 2003, the High Court issued 15 directives for the police and other law enforcement agencies to prevent them from perpetrating arbitrary detention of people and, in particular, violating human rights. The directives prohibited the police from detaining any one under Section 54, required the police officers concerned to show identity cards on demand from anyone to be arrested or those present at the place that time, give the reasons of the arrest within three hours of bringing the arrested to the police station, inform the relatives over telephones or by sending messengers of the arrest in case people are arrested outside their houses or workplace. Regrettably, however, the police are yet to comply with the directives. As New age reported on Wednesday quoting the results of a study carried out by rights group Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust and made public in December 2015, out of 56 people arrested without warrants interviewed, 34 said that they were not given the reasons at the time the police arrested them. Moreover, 48 of the interviewed said their relatives were not informed of the arrest by the stipulated time, and 45 said that they were arrested without warrants, not only that the latter were not denied opportunity to meet their relatives or lawyers.
Besides, 12 of the interviewed were not produced in court more than 24 hours after the arrests flouting the constitutional provision in this regard and 34 fell sick in custody while nine of them received no treatments. It may be worth noting here that the verdict in question came in response to a writ petition filed by BLAST after the death of a university student, who had been arrested under Section 54, in police custody in July 1998. Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission chairman has come up with the allegations that the police now implicate innocent people in drug cases by putting drugs in the victims’ pockets. Additionally, they threaten ordinary people to implicate in pending cases filed earlier in connection with arson, drug peddling, acid throwing or other charges. Worse still, the executive director of Ain O Salish Kendra, another local rights organisation, accused the police of doing further excesses in response to their protests against the non-compliance with the court directives.
All this is an affront to the election pledge of the incumbents to establish the rule of law in the country. Of course, the manner in which they have politicised the force along their partisan line, on the one hand, and continue to give it, along with other law enforcement agencies, a free hand in the name of tackling protests by opposition parties, on the other, it seems that there are indeed little reasons for surprise. Either way, if allowed to continue, the situation may eventually lead society to lawlessness. It is high time that the police were streamlined and made comply with the court’s directives. The court also needs to follow up on its actions.

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