Store arrestees’ biometric data at police stations, jails: HC

In a Thursday ruling, the High Court asked the home ministry for a digital system to store biometric information of inmates and arrested persons at all levels of the country.

According to the court, biometric data, which includes fingerprints, palm prints, and iris of any arrested person, will be needed for identification of any accused or inmates. This is done to prevent prosecution and detention instead of the accused.

The ruling was issued by an online bench consisting of Justice M Enayetur Rahim, Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman. It dealt with a writ Petition filed in 2020 by Zahiruddin challenging the legality and validity of an arrest warrant against him in a case of sabotage.

In the petition, Zahirul claimed that the police harassed him and tried to arrest him in a case against 25 unidentified persons filed at the Khilgaon station police station on April 9, 2013.

Tariqul Islam was the owner of the bus that carried Agrani Bank staff to the capital. He filed the case for vandalizing and burning the seats of the bus, which was parked at Banasree on the morning of April 9, 2013, during a general strike called out by the BNP-led alliance.

In the same ruling, the High Court declared illegal the issuance of an arrest warrant against Zahir. The report of the Police Bureau of Investigation submitted to the court September 24, 2020 stated that Zahir was innocent while Modasser Ali was the accuse in the case.

According to the PBI report, Modasser Ali, 40-year-old son of Ahsan Ullah Begum and Nur Jahan Begum, was arrested by Khilgaon Police Station Subinspector Kamrul Islam, as the investigation officer in the case.

Modasser was released on bail on October 31, 2013.

According to the PBI, Zahiruddin (32), is Mohammad Abdul Kader's son and Golapi Khanam's son, Char Kakra of Basurhat in Companiganj, Noakhali.

PBI discovered that Modasser was using Zahir's permanent address.

It was also discovered that Khilgaon Police Station Subinspector RafiqulIslam, the second investigation officer in the case against Zahir on April 8, 2014, submitted the charge sheet. This showed Modasser absconding after Modasser obtained bail.

Later, Zahir was arrested by a Dhaka court. Copies of the warrant were sent the Khilgaon and Basurhat police stations in Dhaka.

SI Rafiqul stated that Modasser's permanent address was true when he arrested him.

According to the PBI probe, it took photographs of Modasser as well as his history as an inmate at Dhaka Central Jail. It interviewed Zahir, but did not find any similarities between their addresses, photographs, heights, or appearances.

Mohammad Shishir Manir, a Supreme Court lawyer appearing for Zahir, sought a court order to establish a biometric storage system to identify accused persons and prevent wrongful detentions of innocent persons.

Shishir presented before the High Court newspaper reports about the sufferings of 26 poor people who were held in prison for many years as fugitive offenders. This was due to mistakes in identifying the accused and similarities between their names or those of their fathers.

The nation was shocked by incidents of detentions in which innocent Alam Babu was held instead of Sundar Babu, Jahalam rather than Abu Saleq, Minu Ashter instead of Kulsum Takhter, and Md Arman instead of Shahabuddin.

On October 14, 2020, seven directives were issued by the High Court to lower courts, law enforcement agencies, and jail superintendents in order to stop arrests for fake warrants.

After Shahnaj Parvin's December 2019 writ petition, Awlad Hossain (Gonoshasthaya Kendra agricultural program officer), filed a writ to have Shahnaj Parvin produce Shahnaj Parvin before the court. The directives sought to show that he wasn't being held in illegal jail custody.

Awlad was held in jail for 68 days in relation to four fake warrants that were issued under the names of courts in Cox's Bazar Rajshahi Sherpur, Sherpur, Bagherhat and Bagherhat. He was released from Dhaka Central Jail by the High Court's intervention on January 6, 2020.

The High Court demanded that all police stations and magistrate court make it mandatory to submit a copy of the National Identity Card of complainants and passports in any case for recording cases. This was in response to false or fictitious filings.

If the complainants didn't have NID cards, the court ordered that copies of NID cards be included in the cases.

The court ordered the police to use its own method of identifying the complainants in the event of the non-availability of their passports and NID cards.

The HC requested the magistrate courts identify the lawyer who would represent complainant in the event that the complainant didn't have a NID or passport.


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