DIU organises Roundtable Discussion on the Evidence (Amendment) Bill, 2022
The Department of Law, Dhaka International University (DIU) organised a roundtable discussion on the recently proposed the Evidence (Amendment) Bill, 2022 on 11 September at the Parliament Members' Club of Dhaka. Begum Khodeja Nasrin Akter Hossain and Advocate Gloria Jharna Sarker, MP & members, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs joined the event as guests of honour while Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary, MP, member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs & Chairman, and Board of Trustee, DIU presided over the session.
Prof. Dr. Md. Rizwanul Islam, Chair, School of Law, North South University; Barrister Ahmed Ehsanul Kabir, Asst. Prof., Dept. of Law, Jagannath University; ABM Imdadul Haque Khan, Chairman, Dept. of Law, Eastern University; Mostafa Hossain, Asst. Prof., School of Law, Brac Universiy; Saimum Reza Talukder, Senior Lecturer, Brac University & Taqbir Huda, Member, Rape Law Reform Coalition delivered their opinion regarding the newly placed Evidence law before the parliament among others while Raisul Islam Sourav, Assistant Professor and Chairperson, Department of Law, DIU moderated the event.
Speakers at the roundtable emphasised on public participation and easy access to any bill before passing a law in the parliament. On that note, they opined that it is a praiseworthy initiative to make the century old Evidence Act a modern legislation by insertion of the provisions relating to digital evidence. However, they noted that there are many loopholes in the present draft – for example, it uses the term digital record and electronic record interchangeably, which is not correct. Again, there is risk of manipulation of digital evidence, so there must be well equipped forensic labs to verify the authenticity. The Evidence Act was enacted in 1872 in English while the present Bill refers to the Information Communication Technology Act to understand some terms which is written in Bangla that may create inconsistencies in the interpretation of the law. Discussant opined the amendments in the proposed Bill are largely copied from the Indian Evidence Act whereas the Indian courts have already delivered verdicts to reconsider some provisions of their law.
Bad character evidence of the victim is not usually admissible under the proposed law except with the permission of the court in exceptional cases – the discussants noted that there is no standard fixed in the Bill as to when they court may permit to bring character evidence in the court. Speakers urged for further consultation with different stakeholders before passing this law as this piece law is very crucial to ensure justice in both civil and criminal proceedings. Prof. Dr. AWM Abdul Huq, Dean, Faculty of Law, DIU ended the discussion by thanking all participants and assured that DIU would place the recommendations before the concerned stakeholders.
Event report by Raisul Sourav, Assistant Professor of Law at Dhaka International University.