Lawyers and court staff clashed at the Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court following rejection of a petition for bail for an accused in an attempted murder case on Tuesday halting the court activities causing sufferings to litigants.
The clashes ensued after the court of judicial magistrate Atiqur Rahman rejected a petition of Motaleb, 48, of Kalsa at Savar, seeking bail in the case on his surrender.
Motaleb, charged with damaging the left ear of his relative Shariful Islam by hitting him in the head with a hamper over a family feud, was ordered to jail.
Defence counsel Mizanur Rahman Mamun, also the Dhaka Bar Association general secretary elected from ruling Awami League-backed panel, asked the judge to return the petition without sending Motaleb to jail.
Amid a heated debate on the issue, the judge left the courtroom.
Junior lawyers, appeared with Mizanur, vandalised the courtroom and beat court staff as the staff barred them from rushing to the judge’s chamber.
Some other lawyers joined the clashing lawyers and vandalised a number of courtrooms at the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court and broke the collapsible gate through which judicial magistrates entered their offices.
The judicial function at 12 courtrooms was halted from 11:00am as all entries to the chief judicial magistrate’s court were locked.
The courts rescheduled the hearing in all cases scheduled for Tuesday and sent all accused people arrested or produced before the courts to the prison.
At an emergency meeting with the bar association and senior lawyers, Dhaka district and sessions judge Kuddus Zaman assured the lawyers that he would investigate the incident and take action against people responsible.
The meeting decided to conduct two investigations into the incident – one by the Dhaka district judge if there were negligence and misconduct of magistrate Atiq and his court staff and the other by the bar association if there was any misconduct of the lawyers, district
judge Kuddus Zaman told New Age.
The judges and the bar association also agreed to ensure peaceful atmospheres on the court promises, he said.
At the meeting, bar president Golam Mostafa Khan requested the district judge not to allocate court to Atiqur Rahman until the investigation was completed.
Mostafa Khan told New Age that the lawyers became angry with the judge for his behaviour, not the order.
Dhaka metropolitan sessions judge Md Kamrul Islam Mollah and acting chief metropolitan magistrate Kaysarul Islam, deputy commissioner of police (prosecution) and public prosecutors, among others, attended the three-hour meeting at the district judges’ conference room.
Witnesses said that Mizanur Rahman Mamun along with his juniors went to the court of Atiqur Rahman at about 11:00am and moved the petition of Motaleb, who surrendered before the court seeking bail.
As the court rejected the petition, Mizanur Mamun and his juniors locked in a debate with the judge and asked him court to return the petition.
The court said that the petition could not be returned as the ‘fugitive’ accused surrendered to the court.
As the lawyers became furious, the judge left the courtroom, the witnesses said, adding that the lawyers then tried to enter the judge’s chamber and clashed with court staff who barred them.
Later some other lawyers joined the clashing lawyers as rumour was spread on the court premises that court staff were assaulting lawyers.
The lawyers ransacked Atiqur’s courtroom and vandalised other courtrooms as well.
They also brought out a procession chanting slogans to transfer the judge and announced a boycott of his court.
The situation cooled following interference of senior members of the bar, the witnesses said.
Mizanur told New Age that lawyers became angry as the judge rejected the bail petition in a bailable case.
He, however, claimed that he did not take part in the clashes as he left the courtroom after the rejection of the petitions.
At least four lawyers and nine court staffs were injured in the clashes.
The injured were released after giving first aid from nearby Dhaka National Medical Institute Hospital on Johnson Road, Dhaka.
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