Chaos in Supreme Court over Khaleda’s bail hearing

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-12-06 01:08:32 BdST

bdnews24

Pro-BNP lawyers traded tirades with the government on Thursday after creating a chaos in courtroom during the hearing of party chief Khaleda Zia’s bail appeal in a graft case.

A six-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain deferred a hearing on a bail appeal after the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University authorities sought time to submit a report on her health.

The court gave the authorities until Dec 11 to hand in the medical report and fixed Dec 12 to issue the next order on the matter.

Police beefed up security in the Supreme Court area in Dhaka on Thursday due to the hearing of Khaleda Zia's bail petition.

Police beefed up security in the Supreme Court area in Dhaka on Thursday due to the hearing of Khaleda Zia's bail petition.

But the decision triggered angered the pro-BNP lawyers as they pressed for an earlier hearing date for the bail appeal.

The disgruntled lawyers blocked the courtroom doors as they chanted slogans of 'We want justice' and 'Bail for Khaleda', leading the judges to leave the courtroom around 10:15am.

The judges returned to the courtroom around 11:30am, but failed to resume judicial activities as Chief Justice Mahmud branded the chaos in the courtroom “unprecedented”.

Khaleda's legal counsels Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, AJ Mohammed Ali, Zainul Abedin, Moudud Ahmed, Mahbub Uddin Khokon and Nitai Roy Chowdhury were stuck in the courtroom as they tried to contain the chaos.

State counsels, including the Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, Supreme Court Bar Association President AM Aminuddin, Ajmalul Hossain QC, Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh and Qamrul Islam, were also trapped inside the courtroom.

“Everything has a limit. This is unprecedented. I’ve never seen such a situation in the courtroom before,” the chief justice said.

When the pro-BNP lawyers again sought to raise the issue of Khaleda's bail, the chief justice intervened and said, "We won't listen to anything else right now. There should be a limit to everything. This is unprecedented. I've never seen such a situation in court before."

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam addressing a news conference at the Supreme Court Bar Association Auditorium after the pro-BNP lawyers stirred up chaos in the courtroom during the hearing of Khaleda Zia's bail appeal in a graft case on Thursday.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam addressing a news conference at the Supreme Court Bar Association Auditorium after the pro-BNP lawyers stirred up chaos in the courtroom during the hearing of Khaleda Zia's bail appeal in a graft case on Thursday.

Attorney General Alam also denounced the events as “shameful” and called for measures against the BNP-supporting lawyers who blamed him for the deferral of Khaleda’s bail hearing.

“Such chaos, raising slogan to hamper court’s business is an extremely fascist and unthinkable action,” he told a press conference organised by pro-Awami League lawyers.

He alleged that the lawyers for Khaleda themselves were delaying the hearings to gain political benefits instead of taking steps for appeal hearing for her bail.

Bangladesh Bar Council Vice-Chairman and Bangabandhu Awami Ainjibi Parishad Convenor Muhammad Yusuf Hussain Humayun slammed the pro-BNP lawyers.

“It has been proved today that the BNP doesn’t respect the rule of law. I never believed that they would behave in such a way inside the Supreme Court. It’s very unfortunate,” the pro-Awami League lawyers’ leader said at the press conference.

Law Minister Anisul Huq told reporters at his residence that the government would take legal action against those who created chaos in the courtroom.

“I want to say clearly that the government will not allow anybody to insult or humiliate any institution in Bangladesh,” he said.

"It's our responsibility to safeguard the law and order situation in the country and to prevent chaos in order to keep the people of the country safe. The government will be forced to take legal action against those who behave like this,” he added.

While the pro-Awami League lawyers were speaking at the press conference inside the auditorium, their pro-BNP counterparts were demonstrating on the court premises. They later held another media briefing at the same venue.

“The attorney general must take responsibility for what happened today,” Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, a senior counsel for Khaleda, said at the second press conference.

Others accused in such cases were getting bail but the BNP chief has been denied freedom because of the ruling party’s “political vengeance”, he alleged.

Khandaker Mahbub also slated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her comments on Khaleda’s incarceration, which he said was a sub judice matter.

Moudud Ahmed, a senior BNP leader and lawyer for Khaleda, also said he never saw in his professional career spanning several decades “anything like the show of ire by the pro-BNP lawyers”.

“We tried to calm them, but it wasn’t possible. We had to stay there and support their demand for justice,” he added.

Supreme Court Bar Association President Zainul Abedin said the lawyers demanded the hearing be held earlier because Khaleda’s health was deteriorating fast.

“Even the doctors cannot say what will happen to her by next Thursday,” he said.

Citing a Nov 30 medical report, he said Khaleda could not even eat properly.

“The government has pushed her towards death,” he added.

The BNP expressed frustration over the top court's decision to defer the hearing, alleging that the BSMMU authorities had prepared the report but the government stopped the submission.

“The nation is not only frustrated but also disgruntled by the Appellate Division's decision. The entire country is worried about the health of Khaleda Zia. She should be released in no time to ensure better treatment.”

Mirza Fakhrul referred to a report prepared by a medical panel on Nov 30 and said Khaleda is seriously ill and gradually becoming crippled.

He, however, said the party would wait for the seven days the BSMMU authorities asked for.

The BNP Standing Committee will decide on its next course of action if Khaleda is not released by then, said Mirza Fakhrul.