Jailed over little one marriage: 2 minors launched from legislation enforces’ custody

Two minors, who were sentenced to one-month in prison by a mobile court in Netrakona for getting married, were released from the law enforcers’ custody today before the High Court issued a verbal order in this regard.

Supreme Court Spokesman Mohammad Saifur Rahman told The Daily Star about the development in the afternoon.

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“I conveyed the High Court order to the deputy commissioner of Netrokona. The deputy commissioner informed me that before the High Court issued the order, the detained children were released”, said Mohammad Saifur.

Earlier in the day Saifur said, the additional district magistrate (the appellate authority to the mobile court) scrapped the mobile court verdict after hearing on an appeal.

The SC spokesman, however, could not say who submitted the appeal to the additional district magistrate challenging the mobile court verdict.

Earlier in the day, the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim verbally ordered the authorities concerned to immediately release the two minors, who were jailed by the mobile court under the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 2017 in Atpara upazila of Netrakona.

The court also asked SC Spokesman Saifur Rahman to convey the release order to the authorities concerned.

The HC bench delivered the order following a letter sent by SC lawyer Mohammad Shishir Manir seeking its directives on the authorities to immediately release the detained minors.

Justice Enayetur Rahim also fixed tomorrow (Thursday) for passing necessary directives on the issue, court sources said.

Earlier, SC lawyer Mohammad Shishir forwarded the letter to the HC bench through email, saying that an executive magistrate cannot hold trial of minors through a mobile court as per a judgement delivered by the HC in 2019.

Sultana Razia, assistant commissioner (land) and executive magistrate of Atpara upazila in Netrakona, on Sunday conducted a mobile court and sentenced two 15-year-olds to one month’s imprisonment for getting married, according to a report published in the daily Prothom Alo today.

The executive magistrate conducted the mobile court at her office on Sunday and ordered police to send the detained minors to the Child Development Centre in Gazipur, according to the newspaper report.

Lawyer Shishir Manir said he sent the letter to the HC as an officer of the court under the relevant provisions of the High Court rules.

On March 11, 2019, an HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Md Mahmud Hasan Talukder scrapped the convictions and jail sentences handed down by executive magistrate-run-mobile courts to juveniles across the country.

In the full text of the judgement, the bench has observed that the mobile court law has not empowered executive magistrates to conduct trial of children.

“We have not found anything in the Mobile Court Act, 2009 that empowers the executive magistrates to conduct trial of a child accused. Rather, the Children Act, 2013 being the subsequent special law, the provisions of the same will override in case of any conflict of it with the Mobile Court Act, 2009,” the HC bench said in the full text of verdict.

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