Chaos in SC over Khaleda's bail
We want justiceâ€¦ we want justice, chant BNP lawyers in court
Advocate Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, convener of Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum, speaking at a press conference in Supreme Court Auditorium on Thursday.
Gulam Rabbani :
An enormous chaos took place on Thursday in presence of Chief Justice in the Supreme Court's Appellate Division when pro-BNP lawyers started shouting demanding a short deferment of the Zia Charitable Trust case during the hearing of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's bail petition.
The situation compelled all the six judges including the CJ to leave the courtroom. Even the judges failed to hear any other case due to continuous shouting though they sat down in the courtroom after the break.
The aggrieved CJ termed the situation unprecedented.
Meanwhile, the apex court fixed December 12 for further hearing on the bail petition and directed Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) to submit the report of medical board about Khaleda's health condition by December 11.
The Appellate Division on November 28 sought medical board's report to know the latest physical condition of Khaleda Zia before passing an order on her bail petition and also asked the BSMMU authority to place Khaleda's health report by December 5.
During the starting of the hearing at 9.30 am yesterday, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said, "BSMMU VC informed me that Khaleda Zia had yet to undergo some medical tests. It will require some more time."
Hearing the AG's statement, the CJ fixed December 12 for further hearing on the case and ordered to submit the medical report on December 11 without any failure.
Then Advocate Zainul Abedin appeared in the court for the BNP chief and submitted a medical report of Khaleda Zia prepared by a medical board formed on October 7 this year. But the AG raised question over the report saying that it was not a report of any authentic body.
Zainul further appealed to the court to consider the submitted report and grant bail to Khaleda Zia. But the court refused his plea saying that it will take decision after holding hearing on two medical reports simultaneously.
Then Zainul prayed to the court to fix the hearing date on a short distance or on December 9 which was also rejected by the jury.Â At that stage, the pro-BNP lawyers started shouting in the courtroom and chanted slogans demanding unconditional release of BNP chief, which ultimately compelled all the six judges of the Appellate Division including the CJ to leave the courtroom at 9.55 am.
Senior counsels of the BNP chief Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, Advocate A J Mohammad Ali, Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Advocate Zainul Abedin, Barrister A M Mahbub Uddin Khokan, among others, were confined in the courtroom at that time.
On the other side, AG Mahbubey Alam, Supreme Court Bar Association President AM Amin Uddin, Advocate Ajmalul Hossain and Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh were also confined in the courtroom following the chaos.
The pro-BNP lawyers retained their position in the courtroom demanding the same.
After a long break, the judges again came into the court on 11.35 am. Then the BNP chief's lawyers tried to draw the attention of the court. In reply, the apex court said that it would not hear anymore on the matter and the order had already been passed.
The Chief Justice then said, "You (pro BNP lawyers) are trying to keep pressure on us (court). We will pass an order on the basis of documents."
"Everything has a limit. You have crossed the border. What you have done in the courtroom is unprecedented. I've never seen such a situation in the court room," the CJ further said.
Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain tried to say something to the court, but the CJ said that the order has already been passed. Then Barrister Mainul Hosein prayed to the court to review the order but his plea was also refused.
In this backdrop, the court asked a senior lawyer to proceed with a case. As per the CJ directive, the lawyer started to place his argument, but pro-BNP lawyers again chanted slogans saying, "We want justice, we want justice, â€¦â€¦We want bail for Khaleda Zia." Such a chaos again interrupted the court proceedings.
Â In this situation, it became impossible to keep the court proceedings functional and so, the Judges started leaving the courtroom.
After coming out of the courtroom, the pro-BNP lawyers held a press briefing at the Supreme Court auditorium where hundreds of lawyers gathered and senior lawyers addressed. Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain and Advocate Zainul Abedin termed the situation unprecedented in the history of judiciary. They also made the AG responsible for the incident.
However, in another press briefing the pro-Awami lawyers led by Yusuf Hossain Humayun and Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh denied the allegations and said that the pro-BNP lawyers wanted to pressurize the court and created an unprecedented situation at the highest court, which is tantamount to the contempt of court.
They also urged the CJ to take legal action against all of them, who created anarchic situation inside the courtroom.
The pro-Awami League lawyers also urged the CJ not to allow any lawyers in the apex courtroom, who were not enrolled for Appellate Division, during next hearing scheduled to be held on Thursday.
A special court in Dhaka on October 29, 2018 convicted Khaleda Zia in connection with the Zia Charitable Trust case and sentenced her to seven-year rigorous imprisonment. The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the Zia Charitable Trust case against Khaleda, Harris, Ziaul and Monirul with Tejgaon police on August 8, 2011.