The apex court issues 7 directives for the better protection of children’s rights
Some sections of Child Law 2013 conflict with other laws of the country, the High Court has observed.
The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman made the observation in releasing a full verdict on the Supreme Court website on Wednesday, for a bail petition in a murder case. The murder was reportedly committed by a group of juveniles.
The court observed that section 15 (ka) of Child Law 2013 is not only contradictory but also incompatible with various acts, such as section 27 of the Special Power Act 1974, Section 27 of Women and Child Repression Act 2000, and section 48 of Digital Security Act 2018.
The apex court also said that updated section 2 (16 ka), 15 (ka), 16 (3) of Child Law 2013 created doubt and confusion, and was contradictory to the protection of children’s rights.
These types of contradiction had to be removed, the court observed.
According to the court's daily judicial experience, there is no doubt in saying that there has been some judicial indiscipline in the High Court division and the trial court regarding the Child Law.
The apex court expected that the government will remove these contradictions as soon as possible and also suggested it solve the issue by amending the law or publication of a gazette notification in accordance with Section 97 of Child Law 2013.
Meanwhile, the High Court bench has given seven directives to the concerned magistrates or tribunals to protect children’s rights.
The directives are:
1. Concerned magistrate only to supervise the case activities and gives necessary order and direction regularly.
2. Remand related order has to be disposed in the Juvenile court. But statements of the victim or the witness or the offender can be recorded by the magistrate.
3. During the investigation, the magistrate can grant relief to the suspected child from personal appearance before the court.
4. The juvenile court will dispose any interim matter including the dispute of remand, bail, and the age of a suspected child. If any such matter is placed before the magistrate court, the concerned judge will transfer the case and all documents to a juvenile court to dispose of the matter.
5. Before accepting any charge sheet, the women and child court will have to act as a juvenile court as well as use its stamp seal.
6. A law has to be followed until the amendment or removal of it, even if it is bad or harsh. For this reason, the documents of a case filed under the Child Law should be sent to the concerned magistrate for taking necessary legal action. The magistrate will take necessary steps and accept the case as well as send the case documents to the Juvenile court for trial.
7. The concerned magistrate will accept the charge sheet according to the police report of the cases filed as a GR case.
According to the case statement which prompted the above observations, a group of children led by one accused Abdullah, attacked another child, Md Osman, using hockey sticks, iron rods, and knives in the Lalbagh area of Dhaka on September 29, 2018. Severely injured, Osman was rescued by locals and was taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
On 14 October, 2018, the victim succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. One of the accused, Md Ridoy, was arrested by law enforcement. In the FIR, police recorded his age to be 19 years, but Dhaka’s Woman and Children Repression Tribunal-2 sent him to the Juvenile Correction Centre in Gazipur.
On March 23, 2019, the tribunal rejected a bail petition filed by Ridoy. Later, he was granted bail by the High Court on August 1, 2019.