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Are our courts safe?

  • Published at 12:43 am April 9th, 2019
This unattended archway on the supreme court premises is among several security infractions that have been discovered lately Dhaka Tribune

Security archways at the entrances to the sports complex, and judges’ corner, were out of order, nor were there any security staff members, on a brief Sunday morning visit

Security measures at the Supreme Court and lower court premises have been found lacking, owing mostly to an acute staff shortage and inadequate equipment.

As the highest body of justice in the country, the Supreme Court should have security archways and guards at every entrance. Intelligence reports prompt overt displays of security measures, followed by periods of irreverence and laxity, which has gradually become the norm.

Security archways at the entrances to the sports complex, and judges’ corner, were out of order, nor were there any security staff members, on a brief Sunday morning visit.

Saifur Rahman, special officer of the Supreme Court, claimed that all the security archways are in fine working order.

In 2017, the Supreme Court recommended the Dhaka Metropolitan Police form a special security unit to ensure security of the court premises. But the recommendation was never followed through.

The archway next to the Bar Council building was found functional, but there were no security officers attending to it. A stream of people flowed back and forth with occasional beeps from the archway, but nobody was monitoring it.

AKM Ehsanur Rahman, a Supreme Court lawyer, said: “The security measures are insufficient. The government should form a dedicated security unit that is supervised by court officials.”

Nimesh Chandra Das, superintendent of the Supreme Court Bar Association, said they have their own security personnel and two broken archway scanners at the main entrance. 

According to the Supreme Court police control room, there are a total of 119 security personnel, including two inspectors and two sub-inspectors from the police, to cover two security shifts. An additional 14 members of the Armed Police Battalion are also attached to the Supreme Court. 

Additional Superintendent of Police, Nadia Farjana, in charge of Supreme Court security, said: “I have just joined, but my office has already sent a letter to the authorities for vehicle scanners. We will also ask for additional personnel if it is needed.”

At the Dhaka Judge Court, 155 CCTV cameras have been installed for security.

However, there are no security archways in the Dhaka District and Sessions Court, the Dhaka Metropolitan Session Judges’ Court, and in the Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate Court.

Experts remain concerned that as the courts are located in densely populated areas, a person can commit a crime and easily blend into the crowds.

Fraud busted after waltzing into meeting with magistrate

On Sunday morning, Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Jahidul Kabir was asked if he would meet Jewel Rana, a magistrate, for a courtesy visit.

Jahidul obliged, and Jewel introduced himself as a candidate recommended in the 12th judicial service exams.

Jewel began to talk with Jahidul about obtaining bail for a convict. However, a verbal slip – pronouncing “surrender” as “salendar” – roused Jahidul’s suspicions.

He asked about Jewel’s alma mater, which Jewel claimed to be Dhaka University. When asked about his roll number in the judicial service exams, the paper Jewel was reading out from, revealed him as a fraud.

The chief magistrate immediately handed Jewel to Kotwali police for further interrogation.