The Jail Code has made it clear who will be entitled to division in prison but there are arguments over whether convicts would get this privilege.
There is no separate rule for convicted inmates and those pending trial. Lawyers say if anybody has the qualification to get division they will be provided the opportunity.
On providing division to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, Inspector General of Prisons Brig Gen Syed Iftekhar Uddin said if the court directs authorities she would be given division.
She was treated as an ordinary inmate until Sunday afternoon, he said.
Rule 617 of the Jail Code says those who are well mannered and non-habitual offenders, and maintain a high standard of living because of social dignity, education and practice and do not carry explosives or firearms, are not convicted in offences related to properties or provoking others to commit such crimes will qualify for division I.
Besides, rule 617 (2) stipulates that convicts of higher social status, education and habit of high living standard are qualified for division II.
Habitual offenders will not automatically be excluded of this category. Those responsible for making the categories will be authorised to put inmates under categories based on their characters and pre-identities.
Those who are not included in divisions I and II will be provided division III.
The court has to send a primary recommendation to the home ministry for approval or reconsideration regarding providing an inmate either division I or II.
During approval the convicts will be given division II whose living standard was declared as higher than others. If they are non habitual offenders and based on the nature of the crimes are considered inmates under division II category, will be given this second division.
Lawyer Shahedur Rahman said an inmate will have to be qualified for getting division in line with Jail Code. In this case there is no difference between a convicted inmate and an accused prisoner. One can get division even after being convicted since nothing is said specifically about this in the Jail Code.
Khaleda Zia’s lawyer Sanaullah Mia applied for her division on Sunday saying that she is qualified for division as per rule 617 of the Jail Code.
“Khaleda Zia has been in the Old Central Jail on Nazimuddin Road since her conviction on February 8. She has not been provided any division yet. But she is a three-time former prime minister and chief of a party,” the lawyer said in the hearing.
IG of Prisons Brig Gen Syed Iftekhar Uddin said Khaleda Zia has been in jail as an ordinary inmate as per Jail Code. The Jail Code did not mention anything about a former prime minister.
“She is being provided food as an ordinary inmate. But if relatives bring dry food and fruits for her that will be allowed as well,” he said.
The article was first published on banglatribune.com