The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court Tuesday adjourned till March 20 the hearing on contempt rule issued by it against two ministers— food minister Qamrul Islam and Liberation War affairs minister AKM Mozammel Haque— for making “highly contemptuous comments” against the judiciary.
The Supreme Court also asked the duo to appear in person before it on March 20 to explain their position in making contemptuous comments about the judiciary.
Nine-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order after lawyers of the ministers prayed for an adjournment of the rule’s hearing.
Earlier, on Monday both the ministers filed two separate petitions before the Supreme Court, seeking to tender unconditional apology for making “highly contemptuous comments” against the judiciary.
Mozammel Haque appeared before the apex court yesterday morning as per its directive. But Qamrul Islam seek time to reschedule the contempt rule’s hearing date to any day after March 19, as he is abroad now.
Later, the court adjourned till March 20 for hearing on the contempt rule.
Barrister Rafique-ul Islam and Advocate Abdul Baset Majumder moved before the apex court for the ministers and sought adjournment order from the apex court.
Mamun Mahbub, one of the counsel for Qamrul Islam, told reporters that his client would appear before the court any day after March 19 for the contempt rule hearing, as he is in Malaysia for a state visit and medical treatment.
On March 8, a full bench of the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division summoned them to appear in person before it at 9am on March 15 to explain why they had made the “highly contemptuous comments” against the judiciary. The nine-member full bench also issued
a contempt of court rule, asking them to explain by March 14 why “they should not be prosecuted” for the “highly contemptuous comments” against the judiciary.
In a suo motu move, the top court came up with the order before it sat to deliver the verdict on the appeal of war criminal and Jamaat-e-Islami leader, Mir Quasem Ali.
On February 23, during the appeal hearing on Mir Quasem Ali, the Chief Justice purportedly expressed dissatisfaction over the performance of the prosecution and the investigation agency.
In response, Qamrul Islam remarked that the Chief Justice “was speaking on the lines of the BNP-Jamaat and their lobbyists”. Mozammel Haque went further to say that the Chief Justice should not be delivering the verdict in the appeal of war criminal Quasem Ali.
Speaking at a discussion organised by the Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee in the city, the food minister on March 5 said the Chief Justice’s remarks in the open court during a recent hearing on Quasem Ali’s appeal against his death sentence, made it certain that there was no reason to sentence the accused to death.
He would either be acquitted or his death sentence would be reduced to life term or the case would be sent for retrial, the food minister had said.
Qamrul stated that as a lawyer he felt that no justice could be expected from a bench chaired by the Chief Justice. He also demanded withdrawal of Attorney General Mahbubey Alam from Mir Quasem’s appeal hearing.
At the same event, Mozammel Huq said either the Chief Justice should withdraw his remarks or he should think whether it would be appropriate for him to continue as Chief Justice. – Staff Reporter