Wednesday, 20 October, 2021

Sentencing child to rigorous imprisonment: HC showcauses judge

The High Court has asked Jashore Children’s Court Judge Mahmuda Khatun to explain why she sentenced a child to five years’ rigorous imprisonment in a case under the Explosives Act.

She has been ordered to submit a written explanation to the court within four weeks.

The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman issued the order on Wednesday and granted bail to Shahidullah, the child. His age could not be known. 

The court wondered why such punishments are being handed down despite much training and asked judges to be more cautious.

Shahidullah and another man, Jahidul Islam Sumon, were arrested by Jhikargachha police on March 9, 2003 with explosives. They were later accused in a case filed under the Explosives Act. 

The Children’s Court of Jashore jailed him for five years under two sections of the Act in 2019.

Shahidullah, now in Jashore jail, moved the High Court. In his jail appeal, he claimed that he had been framed and requested the court to drop all the charges brought against him. 

During Wednesday’s hearing in response to the court’s query, Deputy Attorney General Md Sarwar Hossain Bappi said that the court can admit the appeal and grant bail. The court then granted bail and showcaused the judge.

Bappi told reporters that during a hearing on the jail appeal’s acceptability it was found that the petitioner is a child.

“There’s no provision to sentence a child to rigorous imprisonment,” he said. “When the court noticed the matter, it ordered Judge Mahmuda Khatun to submit a written explanation.”