Jailed over baby marriage: 2 minors launched from regulation enforces’ custody

Two minors convicted of marriage and sentenced to one month in prison by a mobile court in Netrakona were released from law enforcement detention today before the Supreme Court issued an oral injunction on the matter.

Supreme Court spokesman Mohammad Saifur Rahman told The Daily Star that afternoon about the development.

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“I forwarded the Supreme Court order to the Netrokona Deputy Commissioner. The deputy commissioner informed me that the detained children were released before the Supreme Court issued the order, ”said Mohammad Saifur.

Earlier in the day, Saifur said the additional district judge (the mobile court appeals body) overturned the mobile court’s ruling after hearing on appeal.

However, the SC spokesman could not say who filed the appeal with the additional district judge to contest the mobile court ruling.

Earlier in the day, Justice M Enayetur Rahim’s HC bank orally ordered the authorities concerned to release the two minors detained by the Mobile Court under the Child Marriage Restraint Act 2017 in Atpara upazila in Netrakona.

The court also asked SC spokesman Saifur Rahman to forward the release order to the relevant authorities.

The HC Bank issued the order following a letter from SC lawyer Mohammad Shishir Manir, in which he was asked for instructions to the authorities to release the detained minors immediately.

Judge Enayetur Rahim has also scheduled the adoption of the necessary guidelines on the matter tomorrow (Thursday), court sources said.

Previously, SC attorney Mohammad Shishir e-mailed the letter to the HC bank, saying that an executive judge cannot conduct a mobile court case against minors, according to a 2019 ruling by the HC.

Sultana Razia, deputy commissioner (land) and executive judge of Atpara upazila in Netrakona, held a mobile court on Sunday and sentenced two 15-year-olds to one month in prison for marriage, according to a report published today in the daily Prothom Alo.

The executive ran the mobile court in their office on Sunday and ordered police to send the detained minors to the child development center in Gazipur, a newspaper report said.

Attorney Shishir Manir said he sent the letter to the HC as an official of the court under the relevant provisions of the High Court Rules.

On March 11, 2019, an HC bank led by Judge Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Md. Mahmud Hasan Talukder overturned the convictions and prison sentences imposed on juveniles across the country by mobile courts run by law enforcement officials.

In the full text of the ruling, the bank found that the Mobile Courts Act did not empower enforcement judges to conduct trials against children.

“We found nothing in the Mobile Court Act of 2009 that empowers executive judges to bring a case against an accused child. Rather, the provisions of the Children Act, 2013, which is the subsequent special law, take precedence with the Mobile Court Act of 2009 in the event of a case in conflict, “said the HC-Bank in the full text of the judgment.

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