A High Court bench yesterday felt “embarrassed” to hear the bail petition of noted photographer Shahidul Alam in a case filed for “spreading propaganda and false information against the government”.
The bench of Justice Md Ruhul Quddus and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman was set to hear the petition. But it forwarded the petition to the chief justice for a decision, saying one of the bench members felt embarrassed to hear the matter.
Petitioner's counsel Barrister Sara Hossain wanted to know from the judges why one of them felt embarrassed to hear the petition.
However, the HC bench neither disclosed the reason nor the name of the judge who felt embarrassed.
Asked, Shahdeen Malik, another lawyer for Shahidul, said he was surprised that the HC bench suddenly felt embarrassed.
“It was unexpected for us ... A judge may feel embarrassed at the beginning of the proceedings of a case but it is unusual that a judge would feel so three days after the start of the proceedings,” he told The Daily Star.
Contacted, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said an HC judge is not obligated to disclose in the courtroom the reason for feeling embarrassed to deal with a case. The judge may disclose the reason to the chief justice.
He further said the CJ will now assign another HC bench to hear Shahidul's petition.
The 63-year-old eminent photographer was picked up by law enforcers from his home in the capital's Dhanmondi area on August 5 night.
The following day, the police filed a case against him under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act.
Shahidul was placed on a seven-day remand after police produced him at a Dhaka court the same day, seeking 10-day remand. He told the court that he was tortured in custody.
Police, however, refuted the allegation.
Upon completion of his remand, he was sent to jail on August 13.
Shahidul filed the bail petition with the HC on August 28 through his lawyers -- Sara Hossain and Jyotirmoy Barua -- saying he may be granted bail as he is ill.
The petition also mentioned that Shahidul will face the trial proceedings and will not leave the country if he is granted bail in the case.
The petition was included in the hearing list of the HC bench of Justice Ruhul and Justice Diliruzzaman on August 29.
On that day, the HC bench told the lawyers that it would examine the decisions of the HC and the Supreme Court in such cases, and asked them to move Shahidul's bail petition this week.
The HC bench was scheduled to hear the petition on Monday. But it deferred the hearing till yesterday, as the attorney general sought time from the bench for making preparations to place arguments on the petition.