Sunday, January 20, 2019 | ePaper

Commentary

Denial of one`s fundamental rights must not be as easy as filing an FIR: Denying can be seen as police justice

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The lawyers and court staff clashed at the Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court on Tuesday following the rejection of bail petition of an arrested person on charge of attempt to murder halting the court activities, according to press report. Being denied bail his  lawyers vandalized courtroom and assaulted the court staff. Such acts of vandalism inside the court is most unusual and must be condemned. The lawyers have a special obligation to maintain the sanctity of the court. The defense counsel, also the Dhaka Bar Association general secretary elected from ruling Awami League-backed panel, asked the judge to return the petition without sending the accused to jail. The attack by the pro-ruling party lawyers on judicial magistrate has added a new dimension to the situation because of our peculiar politics.

As government backed lawyers it is possible that they are aware of their powerful position. But at the same time we see the bail system is particularly harsh. Some touts are engaged in bail business. The courts know it but yet do not treat the matters humanely. An arrested person is not an accused because only FIR has been filed against him and at this stage he is not even an accused. The allegation is being investigated and he will be an accused if charge sheet is filed. Still then he is not guilty of the offence; he will be so if the court finds him guilty after trial.  But in our practice it is the easiest thing to deny a person his fundamental rights and send him to suffer imprisonment. It is the law to presume a person innocent until he is found guilty by a court. Denial of bail should not be so easy as filing of FIR.

It is not that the courts do not know how easy it is to institute false and vindictive criminal cases. Criminal cases have become politics also for oppressing the opponents. It is a harsh fact that the police is too much under control of the government and their position is not independent or impartial. The police do not enjoy the confidence they should. But still the courts rely too much on police version before the trial and for the consideration whether the arrested should be granted bail.

Granting bail is not full freedom; he is in judicial custody instead of in jail custody. Thus over the matter of denying bail without the human and fundamental right considerations there exists anger. The business with the bail matters is sole cause of frustration. One has to spend big money for assurance of bail. Such activities tarnish the image of the judiciary. We are aware also of public perception of uninvolved persons. They are used to think that granting bail is releasing accused unpunished.

The courts  have a special responsibility to protect one's rights and do justice bravely. The judges have also an obligation to educate the people that an individual has rights and liberty under the Constitution that must be taken seriously. Justice is not merely paper work.

Our bail system needs to be relaxed also for the reason that false cases and politically motivated  cases are flooding the courts.

We have been emphasising not to treat an FIR as conviction. The presumption of innocence before the court finds an accused guilty must be taken seriously. This is a very important principle of justice not to be taken lightly.

It is our firm view that before charge sheet is filed after investigation one should remain on bail as a right. Otherwise one's all fundamental rights are rendered meaningless if on the basis of FIR it is assured that he will be locked up in jail.

The bail matter along with remand into police custody must be reviewed for stopping abuse of law and justice.

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