HC criticises judge for giving cop bail secretly
The High Court has slammed and cautioned Judge Md Iqbal Hossain of Special Judge Court-5 of Dhaka for hurriedly and secretly granting bail to Partha Gopal Banik, a suspended deputy inspector general (prisons) in Sylhet division, in a case filed over the recovery of Tk 80 lakh from his Dhaka home.
It said it had scrapped Partha's bail application and directed the trial court to finish the case's trial proceedings expeditiously. But the judge flouted the HC order by granting bail in an unusual manner.
Such an action from the judge was shameful, disappointing and contradictory to law, the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman observed in the full text of the verdict, which was released yesterday.
"We have no hesitation to say that such a conduct and action from a district-level judge is not expected. Such an order from him [the learned judge] means disregarding the High Court, which is similar to contempt of court," the bench said in the 11-page full text of the verdict.
The HC bench issued the highest caution to the trial court judge over discharging his responsibilities in future. "Judge Md Iqbal Hossain must be more careful in dealing with cases and in complying with High Court directives."
The bench also ordered the HC registrar to note down the warning against the judge in its dossier, saying that lower court judges must deliver verdicts and orders in presence of lawyers and parties of cases in the open court to ensure transparency and accountability.
On September 2, the HC bench, led by Justice M Enayetur Rahim, delivered a short verdict scrapping a lower court order that granted Partha bail in the corruption case in an unusual manner.
Delivering the judgment on an appeal, the bench also ordered the suspended DIG to surrender before the trial court concerned by September 20 in connection with the case.
At the same time, the HC directed the authorities concerned to transfer the case to the Speedy Trial Tribunal-4 of Dhaka from the special judge court and ordered the tribunal to finish the trial proceedings by February 28 next year.
The bench delivered the verdict following an appeal filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission challenging the order of Judge Md Iqbal granting bail to Partha in the absence of the prosecution after the end of court hours, Deputy Attorney General Bepul Bagmar told The Daily Star.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told the HC that the judge on June 17 this year granted bail to Partha in an unusual manner although there were specific allegations against him.
He claimed that a copy of the bail order was sent to the jail authorities very secretly and expeditiously.
Private television station Channel-24 published a report on this.
Judge Md Iqbal Hossain has already apologised to the HC for granting the bail.
He offered the apology by submitting a two-page written explanation to the High Court last month in response to an earlier HC directive.
He also prayed to the HC to pardon him for his mistakes and to exempt him from any further proceedings.
In his explanation, he said an HC bench on November 2 last year ordered him to finish the trial of the case against Partha in six months from the date of receiving a copy of the order.
On June 17 this year, a lawyer for the accused submitted a copy of the HC order to the court of the judge, saying that the deadline of the HC directive had already expired, he said.
Judge Md Iqbal also said in the explanation that he found examining the documents that another HC bench on January 25 this year ordered his court to complete the trial of the same case in one year from the date of receiving the copy of the order. The lower court received a copy of the HC order on March 10.
The HC order is still in force, Judge Md Iqbal said in the explanation, adding that his court is always sincere in complying with HC directives.