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Bangladesh: Mobile Court Ordinance 2007

(Nov. 2, 2007) "The Mobile Court Ordinance 2007, Ordinance No. 31, was published in the Bangladesh Gazette, October 29, 2007. The ordinance bars people from suing executive magistrates. It also empowers executive magistrates to perform certain judicial powers, including confiscating illegal goods and making decisions regarding confiscated perishable goods."

The 2007 Mobile Court Ordinance created two kinds of magistrates in Bangladesh, judicial and executive. Judicial magistrates will operate the Magistrate Courts and decide cases full time. They are appointed and supervised by the Supreme Court. The executive magistrates, on the other hand, will no longer preside over trials in any specific jurisdiction. They are appointed through the Public Service Commission and will deal with on-the-spot, impromptu proceedings anywhere in the country, and establish punishments. Punishments by the executive magistrates, however, may be meted out only against accused persons who confess, and are limited to financial penalties. The executive magistrates may later frame charges under section 242 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. A confessed violator may be freed on payment of a penalty or may be imprisoned up to three months.

If an appeal is filed against a decision of an executive magistrate, the case will be sent to the judicial magistrates for investigation and trial. The Mobile Court Ordinance also authorizes the accused to file an appeal with the district and sessions judge. (Cabinet Okays Mobile Court Ordinance, Executive Magistrates Cannot Be Sued, The Daily Star, October 29, 2007, available at http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=9376.)