Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Chief Justice, Mir Quasem Ali, contempt and the Nirmul committee

Mir Quasen Ali, Jamaat-e-Islami leader convicted
of war crimes during the 1971 war
The Appellate Division of Bangladesh's Supreme Court will on Tuesday, 8 March give its decision on Mir Quasem Ali's appeal against his conviction and death sentence for crimes committed during the 1971 war.

Yesterday, just three days before the decision that will decide the fate of the Jamaat leader - and when the matter was clearly sub judice with arguments having been heard in court just a few weeks earlier - the Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee, held a meeting dealing with the on-going proceedings.

Seeking to interfere with ongoing and sub-judice proceedings is a serious contempt of court. That is why people are not allowed to comment when proceedings are active in a court. The proceedings relating to Mir Quasem Ali's were clearly active with a decision to be made in a few days time.

Moreover, as reported in the media, the food minister made comments that apparently sought to interfere with the judgement of the court. Others including Shahriar Kabir, the executive director of the Nirmul committee, former judge, Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik, and Mumtassir Mamoon also did not hold back in their criticisms of the chief justice in relation to how he has dealt with these ongoing proceedings.

The meeting was triggered by criticisms made during the appeal hearing by the Chief Justice of those who investigated and prosecuted the case of Mir Quasem Ali in the trial court.

The comments made at the meeting all appear to be contemptuous and so will not at this stage be set out in this blog until the court has given its decision on the appeal on Tuesday. The comments can however be read in the Daily Star and New Age

However, it can be stated that the minister sought a re-hearing of the appeal proceedings without the involvement of the Chief Justice.

It will be interesting to see whether contempt proceedings will be initiated against those who organised the meeting as well as those who arguably made comments that sought to directly interfere with the result of ongoing proceedings.

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