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Lower court suo moto orders positive sign

Published : 17 Aug 2021 09:55 PM | Updated : 18 Aug 2021 12:26 AM

Judges of the lower court can play a vital role in ensuring justice through intervening anywhere within their jurisdictions to uphold any provisions of law and constitution.

Although the lower courts have the jurisdiction to issue suo-moto order on any matter relating to the infringement of any provision of law, judges of the lower court are not usually seen as exercising this power.  

Against this backdrop, many people believe that issuance of suo-moto order is only the jurisdiction of High Court and the lower court doesn’t intervene in any matter if any person doesn’t go to the court or files case with police station.

A lawyer said that before beginning of law practice, he also believed that if litigants don’t take recourse to the law, there will be no remedy. The conception can be proved wrong if the lower courts’ judges practice the authority of passing order on suo-moto move over infringement of any provision of law. 

It is a positive sign that two judges in Natore and Panchagarh have recently issued two suo-moto orders. The practice should continue in the interest of the independent judiciary, he added.

According to the section 25 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) and Chief Metropolitan Magistrates (CMM) are Ex-officio Justices of the Peace within their respective jurisdictions. That means CJM and CMM can play role over other organs of the state and individuals, such as administration, police and citizen, relating to the infringement of any provision of law and to ensure complete justice, said Advocate Md Kamruzzaman, a lawyer of Dhaka District and Sessions Court. 

Talking to Bangladesh Post on Monday, Advocate Kamruzzaman said that judges can issue direction and pass necessary order to authorities concerned or individuals to restrain from the violation of law. “Against this backdrop, I believe that the Judicial Magistrates are entitled to operate mobile court. The Executive Magistrates are not required to operate the mobile court as it is not their primary duty. Being the Ex-officio Justices of the Peace, the Judicial Magistrates are fully responsible for ensuring rule of law,” he added.  

The lawyer referred to former IGP Shahudul Haque, Vs. State reported in 58 DLR (AD) (2006) 150, case where the Appellate Division held that under section 25 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, an ex-officio Justice of the Peace.. which connotes power and authority to take cognisance of any offence taking place anywhere and to command any law enforcing personnel any place and.. binds every executive authority. 

In the writ Petition, Khandaker Abdus Salam and Ors, reported in 6CLR (2018)524, the High Court Division held that as the Justices of Peace, Judges are competent to pass necessary order and direction upon authorities concerned as well as citizens to do or refrain from doing something for the time being, including arresting any person for 24 hours, for the sake of tackling a rare of the rarest situations with an aim to uphold Peace. 

Advocate Kamruzzaman, however, appreciated the two sou-moto orders issued by a Natore court and a Panchagarh court. 

The Natore court ordered probe into a village road construction irregularities. In a suo-moto move August 13, Md Mehedi Hasan of the Natore Chief Judicial Court directed the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) to investigate the alleged irregularities in LGED’s road construction.

The court issued the order following reports published in newspaper. The reports were published on August 9.

The PBI was asked to submit the probe report by September 12. PBI Superintendent of Natore, Sharif Uddin said that he received the court’s suo-moto order on August 14. “We are beginning investigation,” he said. 

The court also directed to take two separate cases on the issue. The executive engineer of Natore and upazila engineers of Singra and Lalpur upazila of the local government department were asked to provide overall assistance in the investigation.

Meanwhile, the Panchagarh court in its suo-moto move ordered the Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Debiganj Police Station to thoroughly investigate a couple’s sufferings after they refused to follow a Hilla marriage fatwa imposed by local influential people.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Md Matiur Rahman ordered the respondent to submit the probe report to the court by August 22. OC Md Jamal Hossain said that he received the order on August 11.

It was alleged that the couple at Chalimpur village under Debiganj upazila had been isolated for about four months after they didn’t obey the order of locals. A local mufti (cleric) issued the fatwa of ‘Hilla Marriage’ (marriage to another man) after the husband had uttered ‘Talaq’ three times in a row during an altercation. The villagers didn’t even allow the couple-- Aynal and Jamiran-- to see their children.

On August 9, the couple filed a complaint with Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) in this regard. Later, on August 12, a meeting was held in the village for a peaceful solution, said UNO Prottoy Hasan.

The incident went viral on social media and reports were published in some online news portals. After that the court took cognisance of the matter and issued the order. Those who were involved in issuing fatwa and forcing the couple to live in isolation, committed a serious crime, said the court.