Writ challenges provision of death penalty

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Staff Reporter :
A writ petition has been filed with the High Court challenging the legality of the provision for the death penalty in the Country’s criminal justice system.

Ishrat Hasan, a Supreme Court lawyer, submitted the petition on Thursday as a public interest litigation.

The provision for the death sentence as the maximum punishment contradicts articles 32 and 35(5) of the Constitution and relevant provisions of international treaties and conventions, said the lawyer.

Article 32 of the constitution says, “No person shall be deprived of life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.”

According to article 35(5), “No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment.”

In the petition, the lawyer prayed to the HC to issue a rule asking the officials concerned to explain as to why section 53 of the Penal Code and section 368(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) containing the provision of death penalty should not be declared unconstitutional, illegal, and devoid of lawful authority.

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Section 53 of the Penal Code, 1860, states that the punishments to which offenders are liable under the provisions of this Code are firstly death and secondly imprisonment for life.

Section 368(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, says “When any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead.”

Petitioner Ishrat Hasan said Bangladesh is a signatory to international treaties and conventions, including the United Nations Human Rights Universal Declaration, 1848, which have discouraged the enforcement of death penalty as a punishment.

More than 100 countries have already repealed this provision, she said.

Advocate Ishrat said he would move the petition before the HC later at a convenient time.