Anticipatory bail hearing stopped: Litigants suffer

04 May 2021

Gulam Rabbani :
Hearing on the anticipatory bail petitions in the High Court Division of the Supreme Court has been adjourned since the courts are running on a limited scale to prevent the infection of the coronavirus. Even the justice-seekers are not able to surrender and seek bail from the lower courts for the same reason.
Virtual lower courts across the country are not entertaining the bail petitions filed by the accused against whom arrest warrant has already been issued. These courts are holding hearing on the bail petitions filed only by the detained accused or the accused produced by the law enforcers.
Lawyers of the Supreme Court and Dhaka Judge Court observed that thousands of justice-seekers have been affected as hearing of the anticipatory bail petitions and surrendering process are stopped.
Senior jurist Khandker Mahbub Hossain said, "Many criminal cases have been filed everyday in the country. Most of them are controversial. Many people are made accused of in these cases only to harass them. These accused will face harassment by the law enforces as anticipatory bail hearing is stooped. If an initiative is not taken for hearing the anticipatory bail petitions in the courts immediately, a chaotic situation will arise."     Mohammad Shishir Manir, a Supreme Court lawyer, said the Supreme Court cannot curtail the right of a citizen to get legal remedy through an administrative decision. I think it is not a lawful decision to suspend the opportunity of anticipatory bail hearing for all, added the lawyer.
Metropolitan Public Prosecutor Abdullah Abu said, "There will be a rush on the court premises if the authority decides to open the surrender process. Then the infection of the Covid-19 virus might be increased. This is a global problem. All of we have to consider the situation. If the situation becomes normal then surrender process will begin again."
However, many justice-seekers have fallen into problem since the surrender process is stopped in the courts, added the Public Prosecutor.
Khademul Islam, a lawyer of the Dhaka Judge Court, said, "A virtual court cannot be an alternative for a regular court in any way. Presence of the accused is a major issue in almost all cases of lower court proceedings which is not easily possible in a virtual court."
The regular activities of all the courts across the country, including the Appellate Division and High Court Division of the Supreme Court remain suspended due to ongoing surge of Covid-19 cases. Now the courts are running functions on a limited scale through virtual system. During the hearing the courts are instructed to hear the urgent matters only.  
The Chief Justice has constituted some High Court benches for hearing the urgent cases through virtual system. In the jurisdictions published in the notifications the High Court benches are not empowered to hear the anticipatory bail petitions. Virtual lower courts are also not accepting the surrender petitions, said Md Saifur Rahman, spokesperson of the Supreme Court.

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