High Court Division of the Supreme Court has again come under fire on
the bail scam. The incident of admitting bail defying the stay order
of the Appellate Division by the High Court Division created a mist
of confusion of the power of High Court Division and the dignity of
Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. One 'Mobile Kader', accused
in a murder case was granted bail by the High Court Division on 15 December
last year. But earlier on 14 December the Appellate Division stayed
the bail order issued by another bench of the High Court Division. The
Appellate Division had also ordered to hear the rule in the same bench
which admitted the bail earlier. Despite the stay order of the AD, another
bench of the HCD has granted bail to Mobile Kader.
We became silent spectator when Khaza Habib got bail from the High Court
Division few days ago after getting 27 years of imprisonment by a lower
court. Saiful Islam who got life term imprisonment in Gopal Krishna
Muhuri murder case was released on bail from the HCD on 17 June. AC
Akram was admitted to ad interim bail for his ill health by the High
Court Division on 19 November. Engineer Kazi Mahbubuddin Ahmend who
got life term imprisonment for killing of his wife got bail from HC
on 27 November. (Prothom Alo 22 December)
us turn to the provisions of bail under the Criminal Procedure Code.
An examination of the terms of sections 496,497 and 498 of the Criminal
Procedure code reveals that they constitute a complete code for admission
of bail to accused person. Section 496 of the code deals with bailable
offences. That means which offences are declared bailable by the code
itself in the schedule. Section 497 deals with non bailable offences
and authorises the court to release accused person on bail with the
qualification that such person shall be released on bail if there are
reasonable grounds for believing that they are not guilty of offences
punishable with death or transportation for life. An exception has been
made in the case of person under the age of sixteen years or any women
or a sick or infirm person. And finally section 498 gives inherent/unfettered
power to the High Court Division to admit bail before arrest. That is
the anticipatory bail. Let us left the matter of anticipatory bail because
there are horde of debate that how a person is admitted to bail who
is not in the custody at all.
plain reading of the provisions reveals that admission of bail is discretionary
power of the court. But the court must follow the procedure of sections
496, 497 and 498 of the Criminal Procedure Code while admitting bail.
Mobile Kader is an accused of Kader murder case. Therefore his bail
petition seems not maintainable under section 498. Moreover his bail
order was stayed by the Appellate Division. So how he is admitted to
bail? There may be two reasons for this bail scam, a) laxity of the
Attorney General's office, b) personal interest of the concerned judges
which should not be shelved.
public prosecutors' office (lower court) and the Attorney Generals'
office (Supreme Court) conduct the cases on behalf of the government.
This is an institution which should be independent in its works. But
successive government has politicised the institution and uses it for
political gain. There is allegation that persons loyal to government
are appointed in the posts of Public Prosecutor/Attorney General which
our law minister concedes recently (Prothom Alo 5/6 January ). For the
very reason they entrust their service to the person loyal to government.
According to some, it is not very hard to win a case bribing the government
prosecutor. There is spate of allegations of corruption against them.
No procedure have developed here to submit the statement about personal
wealth of the person before appointed as the Public Prosecutor/Attorney
General. It can conceive that the government prosecutor showed less
interest in this case which enable the accused to get bail. The reason
behind this reluctance of the concerned law officer should be investigated.
As well as how the case was mentioned in the cause list just after one
day of the Decision of AD is also should be investigated.
is alleged that indirect political influence in appointment of Supreme
Court judges instigates them to act on behalf of the political party
in power (Shahidur Rahman defend himself before the Supreme Judicial
Council that the witnesses gave false statement against him to implicate
him politically. His statement reveals that he is appointed politically
and his opposition is trying to implicate him in a corruption scandal
Prothom Alo 8th January). Why the judges of the concerned bench of HCD
have showed so much interest in admitting bail to "Mobile Kader"
whose bail order issued by another bench was stayed by the Appellate
Division? It is reported that the stay order of the AD was mentioned
in the record of bail order. So could the judges claim that they were
oblivious of the matter?
HCD commits contempt
The High Court Division is obliged to comply with the decision of the
Appellate Division under Article 111 of the Constitution. Any deviation
from this constitutional obligation may be considered as contempt of
court. Here, there are three grounds for which one can accuse the concerned
High Court Division Bench for contempt of court, a) disobedience to
the order of the Appellate Division, b) interference with the due course
of justice and c) violation of dignity as well as the supremacy of the
of Appellate Division's stay order by the High Court Division is not
consistent with its constitutional duty. It is not a nugatory error.
Neither the HCD can claim that it was oblivious of the decision of AD
nor it should be. How the HCD can decline that it does not violate the
dignity and supremacy of the AD? However, the burden of proof lies on
We do not expect any confrontation between the HCD and AD of the Supreme
Court. We expect HCD more cautious and sincere in its works. Any antagonism
between the HCD and AD will lead us to lose our hope on the highest
judicial organ of the country. The government let not embroil the highest
court, the last resort to justice in. However the matter of admission
of bail by the HCD should not left in a limbo. The government rightly
decided to remit the matter to the Chief Justice. Consequently, we have
to wait for the decision of the Chief Justice.
Rahman is Assistant in Charge of the Law Desk, The Daily Star.