The High Court on Thursday asked the inspector general of police to take steps so that Bheramara municipality election presiding officer Md Shahjahan Ali was not harassed as he was a witness to the misbehaviour of Kushtia superintendent of police SM Tanvir Arafat with senior judicial magistrate Mohsin Hasan during the election.
The online bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman also asked the IGP to take steps to provide security to Shahjahan and his family until the court hears the matter on January 25.
The bench issued the directive suo motu after Shahjahan, also Bheramara upazila youth development officer, sought the court’s intervention to save his and his family’s lives, saying that several members of the police confined him in the local police station for one and a half hours after they had called him to go to the station.
Shahjahan also told the court that he was forced to put signature on blank papers and members of the Detective Branch in plainclothes were patrolling around his residence in a bid to intimidate him and his family.
Shahjahan, who joined the online court’s hearing from a place in Kushtia, told the court that he was in hiding as he was feeling insecure.
He was posted as the presiding officer during the election held on January 16.
Shahjahan was called to the Bheramara police station several hours after the online bench of Justice Mamnoon Rahman and Justice Khizir Hayat had asked Kushtia SP Tanvir to appear before it at 10:00am on January 25 to explain the allegation that he had misbehaved with judicial magistrate Mohsin Hasan.
The court summoned Tanvir suo motu after taking cognisance of a report published in Dainik Amader Shomoy on Wednesday under the headline ‘judge files a complaint against SP for misbehaving’.
The report, quoting the complaint, said that Tanvir misbehaved with Mohsin while he was on his election duties on January 16.
Mohsin entered the polling centre at Bheramara Pilot Model High School upon receiving allegations of irregularities from a voter.
He saw some people along with polling agents gathered at the centre, according to the complaint.
While the judicial magistrate was asking the presiding officer of the polling centre about the gathering, SP Tanvir along with assistant SP Mostafizur Rahman and their forces went there and called the presiding officer.
Even after the judicial magistrate introduced himself, Tanvir asked, ‘Who are you? What are you doing here?’
Tanvir also allegedly called Mohsin as ‘foul’ and asked him to get out of the centre.
The SP also questioned the deputation of the judicial magistrate to the election duty saying, ‘Who sent you here?’
The court also issued a suo motu ruling on Tanvir, asking him to explain in three days why a contempt proceeding would not be drawn against him and why he would not be punished for the contempt of court.
The court in the order said that the behaviour and attitude as well as the utterance of Tanvir to an officer of the judiciary who was performing his judicial functions as per the law and under the guidance of the Supreme Court ‘amount to serious contempt of court’.
‘Such behaviour of the said superintendent of police, Kushtia, is a severe attack on the administration of justice and ultimately the entire judiciary,’ said the court in the order.
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