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Dhaka Tribune

Separate tribunals no longer needed to try narcotics cases

Parliament passes Narcotics Control (Amendment) Bill, 2020, dropping the provision of setting up separate Narcotics Control Tribunals

Update : 19 Nov 2020, 09:31 PM

Parliament has passed the Narcotics Control (Amendment) Bill, 2020, aiming to quick disposal of narcotics-related crimes.

The amended law has been passed dropping the provision of setting up separate Narcotics Control Tribunals, which means narcotics case can be tried at any court with appropriate jurisdiction.

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haq, on behalf of Home Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, moved the bill in the House, which was unanimously passed by voice votes on Thursday, with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in chair.

While placing the bill, the Liberation War affairs minister said if the proposed law was enacted, then abuse of narcotics could be controlled easily.

After the independence, he said, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had enacted law to curb unbridled use of the narcotics. After the assassination of Bangabandhu, the governments then did not take strict initiatives to control the brisk business of the narcotics, he added.

But the present government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, enacted Narcotics Control Act, 2018, the minister told the parliament.

The Narcotics Control (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was placed in parliament on November 8 this year, dropping the provision of setting up separate Narcotics Control Tribunals to pave the way for competent courts to try narcotic-related crimes.

The bill was brought to have a provision of holding trial of narcotic-related cases in the courts having the jurisdiction for quick disposal of such cases and easing the backlog of huge drug-related cases.

It was supposed to form necessary number of Narcotics Control Tribunals in line with Article 44 of the existing Narcotics Control Act, 2018.

But the Law and Justice Division has not set up any Narcotics Control Tribunal yet, nor has it entrusted the tribunal’s responsibility with any additional district judge or sessions judge for administrative reasons.

So, complexities have been created in disposal of cases filed under the Narcotics Control Act, 2018 since it has become effective, and the number of pending cases filed under this act keeps growing day by day.

As per Article 44 of the amended law, the courts, having jurisdiction, can try the narcotic-related cases as per the gravity of crimes. A sessions judge concerned or a metropolitan sessions judge concerned also can fix one or more than one courts that have the jurisdiction to try narcotic-related crimes in their respective areas.

In the bill, changes have been brought in 22 articles of the exiting act.

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