• Wednesday, Apr 01, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:38 pm

Cabinet okays bill to try drug cases in courts

  • Published at 07:58 pm February 10th, 2020
cabinet meeting
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Dhaka on Monday, February 10, 2020 PID

Govt taking initiative for quick disposal of narcotics cases

The cabinet on Monday approved in principle a draft of the “Narcotics (Amendment) Act, 2020”, keeping a provision to hold trials of drugs related cases in local courts instead of tribunals.

The approval came at a weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair after the home ministry submitted a newly amended draft bill to the existing Narcotics Control Act, 2018, in this regard.

“The cabinet in principle approved the draft of ‘Narcotics (Amendment) Act, 2020’ keeping a provision of holding trials of drug related cases in the competent courts to dispose of those quickly and also to decrease the huge amount of backlog cases,” Secretary (Coordination and Reform) of the Cabinet Division Sheikh Mujibur Rahman told a news briefing after the meeting.

Additional Home Secretary Dr Tarun Kanti Sikder, also addressing the media, said: "The government is taking this initiative to resolve narcotics cases quickly."

"In the existing law, there is a provision to form a special tribunal headed by an additional district judge or sessions judge of a district.  It was very difficult to find additional district or sessions judges in every district," he said.

He added that the draft Narcotics (Amendment) Act, 2020, states that district and sessions judges could now set up one or more courts with jurisdiction to try narcotics-related cases.

Responding to Dhaka Tribune, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said: "Till September, we have more than 180,000 pending narcotics cases. We have to solve them as early as possible."

"We can house around 40,000 prisoners but now we have 87,799 prisoners in different prisons," the home minister added.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet also approved in principle Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation Act, 2020 yesterday. said the Secretary (Coordination and Reform) of the Cabinet Division.

He added that Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (BPC) was now facing difficulties in taking prompt decisions as it had a board of directors of only four people with the BPC chairman at the top.

Due to this, he said that the BPC was not getting the desired assistance from the ministries and departments concerned.

He added that if the proposed law was passed, the BPC board of directors would be formed consisting of senior secretaries, secretaries and appropriate representatives of the relevant ministries and departments.