JS body for new law on contempt
The parliamentary standing committee on law ministry yesterday recommended that the House pass the bill to enact a new law on contempt of court with provisions for protection of government officials from the charge while on official duty.
Law Minister Shafique Ahmed on June 14, 2011 placed the bill with a definition of contempt of court to clear confusions in the public mind regarding the charge.
The bill was sent to the parliamentary committee for scrutiny.
After holding a series of meetings, the committee placed the report in the Jatiya Sangsad with some changes in the bill. Committee chief Fazle Rabbi Mia placed the report.
As cases of contempt of court are filed against individual persons, the accused government officials have to personally bear all expenses for fighting the cases including lawyers' fees and court fees.
The bill proposed that a government official will not face contempt of court charge while engaged in the republic's work for public interest following existing laws, rules, regulations and other circulars.
If a government official faces a contempt of court charge, he or she can contest the charge through government lawyers, says the bill.
As per a provision of the bill, neutral and objective reporting on judicial proceedings will not be considered as contempt of court.
Publishing comments on the merits of a case after its final disposal will also not be considered as contempt of court.
The bill defines two types of contempt of court -- civil and criminal.
Breach of pledges made before a court, or intentional undermining of a court's verdicts, decrees, directives, orders, writs or proceedings will be considered as civil contempt.
Verbal, written, symbolic, or displayed expression of undermining the authority of a court, or expression of such intention, or creating obstacle to judicial proceedings will be considered as criminal contempt, says the bill.