The High Court Division on Tuesday declined to hear acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam’s bail application on the plea that a judge felt embarrassed.
Justice Md Ruhul Quddus, the senior judge of the two-judge vacation bench informed Sara Hossain, lawyer of Shahidul Alam, ‘One of us felt embarrassed’ to hear her client’s bail application.
Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman, the junior judge was silent
The bench forwarded the bail application to Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain to assign another bench to hear the bail application of Shahidul Alam.
The Chief Justice’s secretary for High Court Division Mohammad Rezaoul Hoque told New Age that he would today place Shahidul Alam’s application to the Chief Justice.
The bench informed Sara Hossain about the decision not to hear the bail application before the hearing could begin.
As soon as Sara stood and mentioned the matter the senior judge informed her,’ We remember your case and we would have informed you about our decision even if you did not raise it.’
Shahdeen Malik and Jyotirmoy Barua assisted her.
In her brief submissions, Sara Hossain pointed out after keeping the matter waiting for five days on various pretexts it was unfair not to hear the bail application of Shahidul Alam on the plea that ‘one of you felt embarrassed to hear the matter.’
She demanded to know the reason for which a judge felt embarrassed to hear the bail petition saying that a judge can’t feel embarrassed every now and then.
Sara pointed out to the bench that each and every litigant had the right to know why a judge felt embarrassed to hear them.
At this point Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman requested Sara Hossain to say why she was demanding to know the reason of embarrassment looking at him after his senior colleague did not disclose who felt embarrassed.
Justice Ruhul Quddus affectionately held his junior colleague’s right arm to cool him down.
Justice Quddus told the lawyer that the judges were not bound to mention the reasons why they felt embarrassed.
He also said that the bench led by him never took up Shahidul Alam’s bail application for hearing.
Sara Hossain stood again to request the bench at least to give a hearing for any decision considering the ground realities.
She pointed out Shahidul Alam’s bail application had been sent to the backburner by the lower court and the authorities denied him treatment and division in the jail.
Later when attorney general Mahbubey Alam was approached in his office to comment on the developments, he said it was not usual for the judges to disclose always why they felt embarrassed.
The reason rests between the Chief Justice and the concerned judge, he said.
The attorney general said that Shahidul Alam was not detained without any reason.
Mahbubey Alam said that Shahidul Alam was an internationally connected persons and that he has been detained for defaming the government through false posting in facebook live.
He said he was taking preparation to appear at the hearing but the bench felt embarrassed before he arrived in the court.
On Monday, the bench rescheduled the hearing for 2nd time for Tuesday to facilitate presence of the attorney general on request from deputy attorney general Arobindo Kumar Roy.
The bench had also asked the DAG to submit the government’s affidavit if it wanted to oppose granting bail to Shahidul Alam.
On August 27, Shahidul Alam filed the bail application in the High Court Division after judge Imrul Kayes on August 20 rejected Sara’s request to early hear the bail application since Shahidul Alam has been ill in the jail custody.
On August 28, the bench deferred the hearing until Monday.
On the night of August 5 Shahidul Alam was picked up at his Dhanmondi residence and took him to the office of the Detective Branch for interrogations during which he was tortured physically and mentally.
At one stage a case was filed against him under Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act on the allegation that he had provided incitement to schoolchildren’s movement for safe roads.
Shahidul Alam was interrogated in remand for seven days.
His lawyers said that Shahidul Alam was illegally detained in the jail to justify the action the DB took against misquoting his remarks in the first information report.
They said that Shahidul Alam’s remarks were still available on the internet from where anyone could find out how the government distorted his remarks.