Deputy Commissioners yesterday reiterated their demand for retaining the executive magistrates' power to run mobile courts that had been declared unconstitutional by the High Court in May.
On the second day of the annual three-day DC conference at the public administration ministry, they also wanted the opportunity to work for the UN peacekeeping missions.
After meeting them, Public Administration Minister Syed Ashraful Islam said he supported their demand for the authority to conduct mobile courts.
“The government gives power to different organisations…Therefore, the government will consider the issue and resolve it," he told reporters.
The minister, however, did not elaborate on the matter.
On July 2, secretaries in a meeting with the prime minister also made the same demands.
In a judgement on May 12, the High Court observed that executive magistrates could not run mobile courts that used to try a number of offences, including illegal assembly, public nuisance, unauthorised connection of electricity, water and gas, and cheating at examination centres.
Delivering a verdict on three writ petitions, the HC observed that empowering executive magistrates with judicial powers is “a frontal attack on the independence of the judiciary and is violative of the theory of separation of powers”.
In the conference yesterday, the divisional commissioner of Dhaka demanded lifting of their status to grade-I, said officers present at the meeting.
During their meeting with the prime minister on the first day of the conference, the DCs wanted legal protections alleging that officers in the posts of DC, ADC, UNO, Assistant Commissioners (Land) and upazila engineers often faced cases and attacks while implementing development projects.
As Narayanganj DC demanded the opportunity for them to work for the UN peacekeeping missions, the government assured them of taking necessary measures in this regard.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed instructed the DCs to try to keep prices of daily essentials within the purchasing capacity of people.
The government should protect the rights of consumers, he said, adding that the law and order situation was okay and asked the DCs to keep it that way.
In order to boost the country's exports, the government selected 14 products in 41 districts under its "one district one product" scheme, he said, adding that DCs should take pragmatic steps in this regard.
Producers of those selected goods will be given 20 percent cash incentives, Tofail said.
After meeting the DCs, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon told reporters that a survey for selecting the site of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib International Airport would be finalised by August.
DCs urged him to modernise domestic airports and demanded an airport be constructed in Bogra.
LGRD Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said he instructed the DCs to improve the living standard of the rural people. “We have also directed them to build parks on government khas land for proper growth of children.”
DCs informed Obaidul Quader that they could not implement the government and high court direction for keeping locally made or battery-run three-wheelers including easy bike, nosimon and korimon off high ways due to interference by local political leaders.
Learning this, the road transport and bridges minister asked the DCs to inform him directly in case of such interferences.
“I am the general secretary of ruling Awami League. You will inform me directly if you face any political interference while banning three-wheelers on highways. I want to know who are acting against the government as well as the party's decision to stop the plying of three-wheelers on roads,” he told reporters after the meeting.
The minister also asked the DCs to remove hooks, bumpers and any other additional parts attached to vehicles.
“You have magistrates with you. Carry out mobile courts to remove hooks and bumpers from all vehicles,” Quader told the DCs.
He also asked them not to spend too much time in ensuring protocol for visiting VIPs.
“Give more time to people and ease their sufferings instead,” he said.
The cabinet division in a press statement said the government would turn DC office buildings of the colonial era into libraries and museums.
It also added that government would examine the issue of introducing haor allowance for civil service officials.
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury asked them to take steps to stop the use of top soil in brick kilns.