The High Court on Sunday issued a ruling asking the concerned government bodies to explain as to why they should not be directed to constitute an ‘Independent Police Complaint Investigation Commission’ to probe into the allegations against the members of the law enforcing agencies including the police force.
The High Court bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order after hearing a writ petition filed in this regard.
The home secretary, two secretaries of the law ministry, and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) have been asked to comply with the ruling within three weeks.
Earlier on Nov 23, the HC bench set Nov 28 for passing its order on the writ petition, jointly filed by 102 Supreme Court lawyers on Febr 28 of this year.
Lawyer Mohammad Shishir Manir appeared in the hearing on behalf of the writ petitioners, while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin represented the state.
The writ petition also sought an ad-interim direction from the High Court to form a committee comprising retired judge, former inspector general of police, retired secretary, law teacher and civil society representative that can discuss and review the relevant issues and submit their views directly to the court. But the court only issued a rule.
Earlier on September 10 2020, a legal notice was also sent to the government bodies requesting them to constitute an ‘Independent Police Complaint Investigation Commission’ to investigate the criminal charges against law enforcers.
But the respondents didn’t comply with the legal notice. The lawyers then filed a writ petition with the High Court.
The lawyers submitted the 145-page petition annexing the 1,522 pages of documents as public interest litigation saying that a section of law enforcers are reportedly involved in 18 types of crimes, including extrajudicial killing, rape, stalking, drug trading, torture, causing custodial deaths and enforced disappearances.
In the petition, the lawyers mentioned around 589 incidents of such offences that had been taken place between January 2017 and July 2020.
They also stated that since law enforcers conduct their own inquiries into the allegations against them, the probes are not done fairly and neutrally.
There are independent commissions in different countries including the USA, the UK, France, India and Pakistan to conduct investigations into the allegations against law enforcers, the SC lawyers also said in their petition.
Section 71 of the proposed Police Ordinance-2007 provides for the formation of a ‘Police Complaints Commission’, according to the writ petition. But the government has not implemented it till today.
Attorney general AM Amin Uddin opposed the writ petition, stating that many members of law enforcement agencies have been punished for misconduct through the departmental mechanism of the police in the last few years.
He opposed the establishment of such a commission as the police headquarters on November 13, 2017 opened the Inspector General of Police’s complaint cell, where anyone could file a complaint against the misdeeds and mismanagement of police.