The Appellate Division has discouraged the High Court from directing the government not to arrest or harass any person.
Additional Attorney General Murad Reza told The Daily Star that the Appellate Division made the observation as the HC was giving incorrect blanket directives “not to harass or arrest a suspect without due process of law”.
A three-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, said, “We want to make it clear that the High Court cannot issue any such directive.”
The apex court passed the order on April 20 after hearing a government petition filed against an HC directive of January 23 that asked the government not to arrest or harass Khandker Mahbub Hossain without due process of law.
Khandker Mahbub is the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and an adviser to the BNP chairperson.
The HC had passed the order following a writ petition filed by Farhat Hossain, wife of Khandker Mahbub, seeking a directive on the government not to arrest or harass her husband without due process of law.
The full text of the Appellate Division order, which has recently been released, says: “Though Additional Attorney General [Murad Reza] has raised the question about maintainability of the writ petition [by Farhat] and the propriety of the interim order, Khandker Mahbub Hossain has already been enjoying the benefit of the bail.
“In view of the above, we are not inclined to interfere with the impugned direction [of the HC].”
A number of Supreme Court lawyers requesting anonymity said the HC had been giving such directives for several years when politicians moved petitions fearing they might be harassed or arrested without any case.
Detectives picked up Khandker Mahbub on January 7 as he came out of the Jatiya Press Club in the capital after attending a programme where he denounced the January 5 elections.
He was freed on bail on February 7.
Khandker Mahbub said the SC order was the law and everybody was bound to abide by it. “In the past we had got many orders from the High Court so that the law enforcers could not harass or arrest any person at the jail gate after getting released on bail,” he added.