The High Court has criticised the government's inaction and lower courts' slow pace of trials and also asked the authorities to comply with its orders by October 12
It has been almost a year since the government passed the Narcotics Control Act 2018. But it has still not formed any drug tribunal court anywhere in the country.
The law has provisions of death penalty and life sentence for drug peddlers.
But justice-seekers continue to be deprived as district judge courts, already overburdened with other cases, have little time to dismiss narcotics cases.
The High Court has criticised the government's inaction and lower courts' slow pace of trials and also asked the authorities to comply with its orders by October 12.
The new law proposes 15 years in jail as maximum punishment and five years as minimum for carrying or trafficking or smuggling less than 5 grams of yaba. There is also a provision of fine, in the law, for both offences.
The district judges are considering the narcotics cases as extra work for them. That is why the courts take this much time dealing with these cases.
"The government is working to form a narcotics control tribunal soon," Metropolitan Public Prosecutor Abdullah Abu told The Business Standard.
"In the absence of narcotics control tribunal, people are suffering. But the government is preoccupied with political cases now," said Advocate Masud Ahmed Talukder.
Observation and Direction of High Court
On August 25, 2019, the High Court criticised the government for not forming tribunals, under Section 44 of the Narcotic Control Act 2018, for trying the accused in yaba and other narcotics cases.
The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman also crticised the secretaries of the ministries of home and law for their repeated failure to comply with several directives issued since July 8.
The High Court asked them to report on if additional district and sessions judges or metropolitan sessions judges were empowered to try persons accused in yaba and other narcotic cases until the tribunals were formed.
The new deadline that the bench has set, for the secretaries to comply with the standing directives, is October 13.
The first directive requires forming tribunals while the second one requires empowering additional district judges or metropolitan sessions judges to hold trials.
Earlier on February 5, 2019, the High Court observed that the trial proceedings in narcotics cases have remained stalled for long. The reason is the witnesses are not produced before the courts and their statements are not recorded on scheduled dates.
While hearing a bail petition of a drug-related case, the said High Court bench observed the trial courts' efforts were not enough for quick disposal of cases.
Such cases could be dismissed in a day if the judge, the investigation officer, and the public prosecutor had dealt with it sincerely, the bench observed.
The HC judges asked the district deputy commissioners and superintendents of police to ensure that the investigation officers of these cases produce the witnesses before trial courts on scheduled dates for their quick disposals.