The Appellate Division on Wednesday stayed until Sunday a bail the High Court granted on Monday to opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia, jailed for five years in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on February 8.
A four-judge bench, chaired by chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, also allowed the government and the Anti-Corruption Commission to file regular petitions by Sunday seeking permission to appeal against the High Court order.
The chief justice passed the order before completion of argument of the commission’s lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan for staying the bail.
Attorney general Mahbubey Alam, sitting in the front row, advised Khurshid to seek stay of the bail until Sunday.
Khaleda’s lawyers Zainul Abedin, also the Supreme Court Bar Association President, and former attorney general AJ Mohammad Ali stood up to oppose the order asking how the order could be passed without hearing them.
The chief justice replied that there was no scope for hearing them unless the regular petitions for permission to appeal were filed.
The lawyers requested the chief justice not to stay the bail before Sunday’s hearing as BNP chairperson could not be released from jail unless she was granted bail in another case in which she had been shown arrested.
As they told the chief justice that public perception about the higher judiciary would be bad, the chief justice replied that the court did not work looking at the public perception.
As senior BNP lawyer Giasuddin Ahmed said that lawyers must be heard before passing the order, the chief justice asked, ‘Are you threatening us?’
Three other judges — Justice Muhammad Imman Ali, Justice Hasan Foez Siddique and Justice Mirza Hussain Haider –– remained silent during the 10-minute hearing.
On Monday, the Appellate Division judge in chamber Justice Hasan Foez Siddique posted for Wednesday the hearing on the petitions of the government and the commission.
The High Court on Monday granted Khaleda bail as she was handed lowest sentence, hearing her appeal against the sentence would take time, she never misused bail and the 73-year leader was suffering from numerous physical complications, a fact contradicted by neither the government nor the commission.
On February 22, the High Court bench accepted for hearing the appeal Khaleda filed on February 20 against her sentence and stayed the realisation of her fine.
In another development, Dhaka metropolitan magistrate Ahasan Habid rejected a petition for showing Khaleda arrested in a case filed on charges of undermining Bangladesh’s map and the national flag.
Plaintiff of the case AB Siddique, also pro-Awami League organisation Jananetri Parishad president, filed the petition although his similar petition was rejected by the same court on February 14.
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