BLAST has undertaken public interest litigation to ensure that persons suspected of crimes are given due process of law and are not subjected to torture, arbitrary arrest, or summary execution by police officers. BLAST obtained a judgment, 55 DLR (2003) 363, in which the High Court determined that Sections 54 and 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which permit the police to arrest without warrant and magistrates to take persons into remand, were inconsistent with the Constitution of Bangladesh. The Court made specific recommendations to Parliament for amending these sections and issued guidelines to be implemented immediately by the law enforcing agencies and by magistrates to prevent misuse of the laws. The guidelines included measures intended to prevent death and injury during custody such as requiring police officers to take injured arrestees to the hospital and requiring police to conduct interrogations at the jail gate rather than in police remand. They also required the police when making arrests without warrant to inform the arrestee of the grounds of arrest, to inform a friend or relative of the arrest, and to provide them with an opportunity to contact a lawyer, among other requirements.
While knowledge of such judgments is increasingly spreading across the criminal justice system and enabling protections for individuals facing arrest or remand, it remains the case that too often, individual rights continue to be violated. Many police officers and even some judicial officers remain uninformed of the constitutional limits on their authority, or unwilling to comply with the High Court’s directives. BLAST continues to press for reform through advocacy for action regarding the High Court’s recommendations, and amendment of the CrPC to address their recommendations, and in pending such reform, through continuing litigation. Key law reform initiatives are focused on Sections 54 and 167 of the CrCP.
Public Interest Litigation
- Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services and Trust and others vs. Bangladesh and Others [Section 54 Guidelines Case, or Rubel Killing Case, or Guidelines on Arrest and Remand Case]
Writ Petition No. 3806 of 1998
55 DLR (2003) 363
- Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust vs. Bangladesh and others [Detention of Child Md Zabed Case]
Writ Petition No. 4191 of 1998
4 BLC (1999) 600
- BLAST and others vs. Bangladesh and others [Rickshaw Pullers Arrest Case]Writ
Petition No. 6767 of 2001
- BLAST, ASK and another vs. Bangladesh and others [Forcible entry of BDR Personnel Case]
Writ Petition no. 3621 of 2002
- ASK, BLAST and others vs. Bangladesh and others [Mass Arrest Case]
Writ Petition No. 2192 of 2004