Narcotics Control (Amendment) Bill 2020 passed in parliament

The Narcotics Control (Amendment) Bill 2020 was passed in the Parliament today, dropping the provision of setting up separate narcotics control tribunals to pave the way for competent courts to try narcotics-related crimes.

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque placed the bill in the House in favour of Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal. The Home Minister was not present in the House today. The bill was later passed by voice vote.

Several opposition MPs of BNP and Jatiya Party placed proposal to send the bill to select committee for public opinion. But those proposals were rejected by voice votes.

The bill was brought to have a provision of holding trial of narcotics-related cases in the courts — having the jurisdiction for quick disposal of such cases and easing the backlog of drugs-related cases.

It was supposed to form necessary number of Narcotics Control Tribunals in line with article 44 of the existing Narcotics Control Act 2018.

But the Law and Justice Division cannot set up any Narcotics Control Tribunal yet or cannot entrust the tribunal’s responsibility with any additional district judge or session judge for administrative reasons.

So, complexities have been created in disposal of cases filed under the Narcotics Control Act 2018 since it has become effective, and the number of pending cases filed under this law keeps growing day by day.

As per article 44 of the bill, the courts, having jurisdiction, can try the narcotics-related cases as per the gravity of crimes as well as a session judge concerned or a metropolitan session judge concerned can fix one or more than one courts that have the jurisdiction to try narcotics-related crimes in their respective areas.

In the bill, changes have been brought in 22 articles of the exiting act.

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