In a functioning democracy, those accused must be allowed to defend themselves No single entity has the right to play judge, jury, and executioner. But this is exactly what mobile courts do.
As such, the High Court’s decision to declare mobile courts unconstitutional is a step in the right direction.
Mobile courts are nothing if not regressive. It is high time we rid ourselves of the archaic Mobile Court Act of 2009 and moved on to better and more efficient systems for justice.
Mobile courts make unrealistic demands of defenders, with some conditions, such as punishments to pay fines immediately, being stark reminders of this most unreasonable clause. Is it any surprise that most mobile court judgements are overturned once they reach the judge? In fact, most of it is run by crooks within the system who use their power to bully and extort.
The government must understand that mobile courts are inherently undemocratic. In a functioning democracy, those accused must be allowed to defend themselves, must be prepared for this defense, and their defense must be presided over by a judge. A mobile court allows for none of these things.
With provisions which allow for instant execution of imprisonments, mobile courts exist merely to remind us of a most undemocratic operation in an otherwise undemocratic system.
While we agree that they might serve some function in a nation as overpopulated as ours, what we must improve, in the end, is the way our judiciary functions. Too much of it is overburdened and run inefficiently, with those involved spending countless years and much of their hard-earned money in the process. It is about time this changed. Mobile courts are unconstitutional.
Dhaka Tribune, May 18, 2017