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We are ordinary people, we may be wrong, observes HC

15 September 2021

Staff Reporter :
"We are ordinary people, we may be wrong", observed a High Court bench on Monday while holding hearing on a contempt of court ruling.
The High Court bench comprising Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice SM Maniruzzaman also expressed their resentment as the state law officers didn't cooperate properly while passing order on an issue.
Following a writ petition the High Court bench on June 7 in 2021 directed the respondents including Mobara Khanam, Commissioner of Customs House, ICD, Kamalapur, Dhaka, to release the goods imported by one businessman Habibur Rahman within three working days.
But the goods were not released within the time stipulated by the High Court, as the laboratory assessment was not completed till then.
In the meantime, the writ petitioner filed a contempt of court petition with the High Court as the respondents didn't comply with its earlier order to release the goods.
Following the petition the High Court on June 29 this year issued a contempt of court ruling against Mobara Khanam, Commissioner of Customs House, ICD, Kamalapur, Dhaka.    
Complying with the ruling Mobara Khanam submitted a reply with the High Court on September 7 this year stating that writ petitioner suppressed the information and obtained the court orders.
The customs authority received the High Court order on June 15, but without informing the court they issued a show cause notice on the businessman on June 16 on the basis of final assessment report of the goods found from the laboratory. 
The court termed the step of the customs authority as contemptuous. "Defying our orders you took decision to draw proceedings against the businessman on the basis of second or final assessment report. This is contemptuous. Because till then our order was still alive," said the court during the hearing on Monday.
During the hearing on September 8, the customs commissioner gave an undertaking in the High Court that she would recall a note-sheet issued in this regard on June 16 and comply with the court order within September 12 as the court order still alive till then.  
However, in the meantime, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) filed an appeal petition with the Appellate Division against the High Court order that asked for releasing goods. Upon hearing the appeal petition the Chamber Judge of the Appellate Division on September 12 stayed the High Court order.
Accordingly the contempt ruling came to the cause-list of the High Court bench on Monday for hearing. In the hearing, lawyer of the customs commissioner, Khurshid Alam Khan, said that the contempt ruling became in fructuous as the main order of the court has been stayed by the apex court.
At one stage of the hearing the court said that it got very much hurt as the law officers did not inform the court about the final laboratory assessment of the goods.
The court said, "We never passed any order in last three and a half years without verifying the state law officers. We asked them in every case. We got very much hurt and this is a peculiar situation."
We could modify the order if we were informed about the final report of the goods, said the court.
"We are ordinary people, we may be wrong", also observed the High Court bench at that time. After the hearing the court adjourned the matter for one week.
Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan and Barrister Md Iftabul Kamal appeared in the hearing on behalf of Mobara Khanam, while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin appeared for the NBR and Advocate Munshi Moniruzzaman appeared for the writ petitioner.

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