Pro-BNP lawyers yesterday said shifting Khaleda's trial to jail was “misuse of judicial powers” by the law ministry and they sought the chief justice's intervention into the matter.
Khaleda's lawyers submitted an application to the office of Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, requesting him to launch “enquiries” and take appropriate actions against the judicial officers “encroaching their legal boundaries at the instruction of the government”.
Law Minister Anisul Huq, however, said the pro-BNP lawyers didn't know the law and refuted the allegations.
The lawyers in the application stated that the law ministry issued the gazette notification to move the Special Judge Court-5 of Dhaka to the administrative building in Old Dhaka Central Jail for the trial of Zia Charitable Trust corruption case against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, ignoring the need to consult with the Supreme Court.
“In doing so, the ministry has defied the authority of our constitution and also challenged the authority of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, which is mandated under article 116 of the constitution,” the petition said.
Shifting a court without the SC's permission is illegal and it undermines the apex court, they said.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Zainul Abedin and Secretary AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon signed the application.
Besides them, Pro-BNP lawyers Khandker Mahbub Hossain, Jamiruddin Sircar, AJ Mohammad Ali, Mir Mohammad Nasir Uddin and Bodruddoza Badal met the chief justice at his SC office and submitted the application yesterday afternoon.
Zainul told The Daily Star that the chief justice received the application and assured them of looking into the matter within the scope of his legal and administrative jurisdiction.
Shifting the court for Khaleda's trial has offended her right to fair trial guaranteed under article 35(3) of the constitution inasmuch as this will cause prejudice to her right to have a public trial, the application stated.
Khaleda can hardly walk due to her illness and needs medical treatment first. But the court has not taken appropriate steps for her treatment by any doctor of her choice, it added.
The constitution and the statutory scheme do not allow any government to set up any court or to continue any trial in an abandoned jail, it said.
Meanwhile, Law Minister Anisul told reporters on the SC premises, “I think, if they have made such allegations, I will say that they don't know law.”
He went to the SC to meet the chief justice.
Also yesterday, the hearing of 11 cases, including one of sedition, against Khaleda was adjourned by a Dhaka court till October 7.
Judge KM Imrul Kayes of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court passed the order after Khaleda's lawyers submitted 11 separate petitions seeking adjournment of the hearings.
In the petitions, Khaleda's lawyer Ziauddin Zia said their client had filed separate writ petitions with the High Court seeking quashing of the case proceedings, and the HC had stayed trial proceedings of the 11 cases.
Of the 11 cases, 10 were lodged in the first three months of 2015 over arson attacks on vehicles. The other case was filed with a Dhaka court on charge of making seditious comments about the freedom fighters and the martyrs of the Liberation War.