‘The Bankers’ Book Evidence Bill, 2021’ was passed in the Parliament on Saturday to replace the 130-year old ‘Bankers’ Book Evidence Act, 1891’ and also to incorporate digitally recorded document as evidence.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal placed the Bill in the House and it was passed by voice vote.
The proposed law was designed aiming to accommodate new banking products and services as well as to make the law time befitting.
The banks are now working digitally which was not mentioned in the old law and the proposed law has stated the updated issues clearly. The old law was formulated during the British era in 1891.
The proposed law defines the jurisdiction of the court for any bank-related information, which is totally prohibited in the old one. It suggests making information public except those of private one after taking permission from the court and fixing the authorities concerned who can do that.
The Bankers’ Book Evidence Act, 2021 states some offences, punishments and trial to prevent unauthorised information.
After the law comes into the effect, the court may call records pertaining to the new products and services along with traditional books as legal documents. For example, the banking accounts maintenance tools will be admissible by the court as legal documents.
The proposed law identified crimes and spelt out the punishment and trial system. If found guilty of publishing information illegally, a person would face jail terms of at least three years or fined Tk 10 lakh, or both. This would help ensure the secrecy of information.
The law has identified crimes as cognizable, non-bailable and compoundable.