Magistrate asked to explain action
A Dhaka court yesterday warned of legal action against a magistrate for an "incomplete" order on a bail petition of Tazreen Fashions chairperson in a homicide case.
The case was filed over a deadly fire at the factory in November 2012, which killed 112 workers.
Judge Md Abdul Majid of the Dhaka District and Sessions Judge's Court asked Senior Judicial Magistrate Tajul Islam to explain in 15 days why legal action would not be taken against him for his February 9 order.
The court also ordered Tajul to appear before it to offer his explanation.
Meantime, Judge Md Abdul Majid cancelled the bail of Tazreen Chairperson Mahmuda Akhter and asked her to surrender in 15 days before the lower court that granted her bail.
“If the accused [Mahmuda] does not surrender before the court within the stipulated time, the court will issue an arrest warrant for her,” said Majid.
The ruling came following a petition by District Public Prosecutor Khondaker Abdul Mannan against a February 10 order by Chief Judicial Magistrate Md Ismail Hossain, granting one-month conditional bail to the Mahmuda.
On February 9, Mahmuda and her husband Delwar Hossain, also managing director of Tazreen, appeared before the court of Tajul, after another court ordered their arrest. But Tajul ordered to send them to jail, without disposing of their bail petitions.
The next day, Magistrate Md Ismail Hossain granted one-month bail to Mahmuda on health grounds but denied bail to Delwar.
Two days later, the government challenged Mahmuda's bail.
Under the law, when a matter remains pending with a higher court, the lower court order remains as it is. So the bail granted to Mahmuda by the District and Sessions Judges' court remains stayed.
Magistrate Ismail's order granting bail to Mahmuda was not "legal and proper" since the February 9 bail petitions were not disposed of. So, the bail of Mahmuda was cancelled, said Judge Majid.
ATM Golam Gous, counsel for Mahmuda and Delwar, said he would decide on filing an appeal against the order after getting the certified copy of the full judgment.
The couple surrendered before the court six weeks after the same court took charges against them into cognisance and issued arrest warrants for them in the first-ever move in the country to prosecute garment owners for a factory fire.
Police in December last year pressed homicide charges against 13 people, including Delwar and Mahmuda.
The couple also faces charges of negligence that led to so many casualties in the blaze.
According to the charge sheet, they constructed the building as per a faulty plan and illegally used the ground-floor walkway as a warehouse.
Of the 11 other accused, the factory manager, quality manager, engineer and production manager were shown as fugitives in the charge sheet.
Six accused, including Delwar, got bail from the High Court and the lower court.
Only the security-in-charge is now behind bars.