The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday summoned the food minister Advocate Qamrul Islam and liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Haque to appear in person before it on March 15 at 9.00am to explain their positions for their ‘highly contemptuous comment’ about judiciary.A nine-member Appellate Division full bench of the apex court also issued a contempt of court rule asking them to explain by March 14 as to why ‘they should not be prosecuted for their highly contemptuous comment’ about the judiciary.
In a suo motu move, the apex court came up with order before it sat for delivering the appeal verdict of war criminal and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali.
The nine-member full bench of the Appellate Division entered into the courtroom just 9.01am and chief justice in a written order said that they saw last few days the newspapers published several highly contemptuous reports quoting two ministers.
“We think that the ministers’ comments undermined the dignity of the Supreme Court and the chief justice’s office. The justices of the Supreme Court were taken into aback by the remarks of the two ministers. We think that the ministers’ have interfered into the Independence of the judiciary nakedly by making such comments,” the chief justice said.
The top court’s next order was the final verdict on the war criminal’s appeal, in which it sentenced the Jamaat-e-Islami leader to death for atrocities against Bangalees committed during the Liberation War in 1971.
After issuance of the rule, attorney general Mahbubey Alam said the court was angry with the remarks of two ministers and considered it interference in judiciary.
Advocate Khandaker Mahbub Hossain said that the apex court has properly issued the contempt of court rule against the ministers as they have undermined the judges and the Supreme Court.
Earlier, on February 23, during the appeal hearing on Mir Quasem Ali, the Chief Justice purportedly expressed dissatisfaction over the activities of the prosecution and the investigation agency
A five-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, came up with the observations after receiving records and documents of the International Crimes Tribunal-2, saying that the prosecution could not produce witnesses in some charges brought against Mir Quasem Ali.
“We are shocked at the performance of the prosecution and the investigators for their incompetence in dealing with war crimes cases. A huge amount of money is being spent, but their responsibilities are not reflected in their performance,” Chief Justice SK said.
Speaking at a discussion organised by Ekattarer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee in the city, food minister Quamrul Islam on March 5 said that the Chief Justice’s remarks in open court during a recent hearing of Mir Quasem Ali’s appeal against his death sentence made it certain that there was no reason to sentence the accused to death.
Either he would be acquitted or his death sentence would be reduced to life term or the case would be sent for retrial, the food minister said.
Quamrul said as a lawyer he felt that no justice could be expected from a bench chaired by the Chief Justice.
He also demanded withdrawal of the attorney general Mahbubey Alam from Mir Quasem’s appeal hearing.
At the same discussion, liberation war affairs minister AKM 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 the Chief Justice.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam on Sunday (March 6) urged all to exercise restraint in making comments on such issues as those are ‘unconstitutional’.
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Monday lambasted two of her cabinet colleagues for their recent remarks on the Chief Justice and also for making comments on a sub-judice matter.
She said the ministers’ comments against the Chief Justice and the Attorney General were embarrassing for herself as well for the government.
Presiding over the weekly cabinet meeting at the secretariat, she said the public remarks of two ministers at a discussion appeared to be the statements of the government. And the people may think from the statements that the organisation that organised the discussion was part of the government, said a minister quoting the PM as saying in the meeting.