Monday, March 19, 2018 11:18:01 PM
Staff Reporter :
The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday stayed the High Court order that granted bail to BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust Case till May 8.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order after allowing two separate leave to appeal petitions filed by the government and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) seeking stay on the High Court order.
ACC's lawyer Khurshed Alam Khan told the journalists that the Supreme Court would hold hearing on the appeals against the bail order on May 8.
"In view of the Supreme Court order, Khaleda cannot be released from jail till May 8," he said.
As per order, the government and the ACC got permission from the Supreme Court to move separate appeal petitions in the Appellate Division against the High Court order.
The apex court asked the government and the ACC to submit concise statements on the appeal in two weeks after receiving the leave granting order.
Khaleda Zia has also been asked to submit concise statement on the appeal in two weeks after the government and the ACC file their concise statements.
A concise statement contains the points on which the lawyer placed arguments on the appeals in the court.
After passing the order, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain said, all the four judges of the Apex Court passed the order unanimously after examining the records of the case.
Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, a lawyer for Khaleda Zia, said that the SC's order was but a threat to the judiciary.
"I think wrong perception will grow among people of the country about the independence and the neutrality of the Judiciary because of this order." he said. "There is no such example in history that the Appellate Division granted leave to appeal petition and stayed bail," he added.
Barrister Moudud Ahmed said that they did not think it nor expected it. "It is unprecedented that the SC would grant leave to appeal petition against an anticipatory bail."
On March 12, the High Court bench comprising Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim granted bail to BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia for four months in the case. The Anti-Corruption Commission and the government filed two separate appeal petitions against the HC order to stay the bail on the following day.
On March 14, the Supreme Court stayed the High Court order that granted bail to BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia till March 18. The SC also directed both the parties to file leave to appeal petitions by this time. The both parties filed leave to appeal petitions on March 15 and the SC heard those petitions on March 18. After concluding hearing the SC fixed Monday for passing order.
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking rescheduling of the hearing date on the plea against Khaleda's bail.
Khaleda's lawyer Barrister Jamir Uddin Sirker moved the petition citing that the apex court will go to vacation from April 13 and remain closed until May 6. "She (Khaleda) has been suffering in jail and she is physically sick. So, the hearing needs to be held before the apex court goes into vacation," he told the court. Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain said that the court has fixed May 8 for hearing the appeal and it will hear it that day without any failure and adjournment.
The court will conclude the hearing of the appeal by May 9, the chief justice added.
Like the previous day, the Supreme Court premises was under siege by huge deployment of police on Monday. Huge number of police heavily armed with helmets and riot gears were inside the main court building approaching the Appellate Division and at its front door were as a show of police power. During hearing, ACC's lawyer complained to the court that Khaleda Zia had abused the bail before. Then he read the order of the trial court and said, "Khaleda Zia went abroad without the permission of the court. What else can be the abuse of bail?"
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam also submitted his statement contradicting the bail. He said, "Khaleda Zia cannot get mercy again and again considering her age and sickness. The trial court gave her shorter sentence considering her age and social status. How many times will she get mercy in the way the trial court showed her?"
"High Court ordered to prepare paper-book of this case within four months. You (Appellate Division) can reduce this time for two months. Paper-books of BDR carnage case were also prepared within a short time," he added.
The Attorney General also said contradicting the bail, "The situation was different when the trial proceedings were continuing. Now she is a convicted person. The trial court sentenced her minor punishment considering her age and physical condition. Her sentence will end, and her appeal hearing will not end that cannot happen. This is absurd. Of course, there will be a hearing."
Khaleda Zia's lawyer Khandker Mahbub Hossain said, "The government and the ACC are opposing the bail order so much because the accused person in this case is Khaleda Zia. They would not oppose so much if the accused person was not Khaleda Zia."
On February 8, Khaleda Zia was jailed for five years on February 8 in connections with Zia Orphanage case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2008. Judge of the Special Court-5 of Dhaka also sentenced Khaleda Zia's eldest son and BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman, and four others to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Tk 2.10 crore each.
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