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Supreme Court asks not to publish news on sub judice cases

  • Published at 11:16 pm May 16th, 2019
High Court-HC-court
File photo of the High Court Dhaka Tribune

A circular signed by Golam Rabbani, register of the High Court Division was sent to the media on Thursday

The Supreme Court has issued a circular requesting that news about sub judice matter not be published or broadcast.

A circular signed by Golam Rabbani, register of the High Court Division, was sent to the media on Thursday. 

The circular said it is unprecedented that many electronic and some print media have reported and published articles on sub judice cases.

The circular then went on to request such matter not be published or broadcast.

Following the circular, Supreme Court based journalists' organisation, Law Reporters Forum (LRF), expressed shock, and demanded withdrawal of the circular. 

Signed by LRF President Wakil Ahmed Hiron and Secretary Nazmul Ahasan Raju, a letter was sent to the chief justice, saying reporters have been covering court-related reports for a long time, including the Bangabandhu killing case, jail killing case, and the cases with the International Crimes Tribunal. 

"By covering court proceedings, media has had positive effects on transparency." 

The letter went on the say that Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain himself had told reporters earlier on April 9, to report on what proceeding they see inside the court. 

The published circular seems to be in contradiction with the comments from the chief justice. So the LRF demands this circular be withdrawn, the LRF letter said. 

Reason for the circular, and reaction

The Appellate Division expressed dissatisfaction on Thursday morning over an order which had been delivered by a High Court bench. 

The 7-member bench headed by the chief justice expressed dissatisfaction while passing an order in a civil matter. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam urged the chief justice to request President Abdul Hamid to take necessary action against a High Court bench for giving a "preposterous order".

The Appellate Division disposed of the petition with some observation. The court expressed dissatisfaction and fined one of the respondentsTk1 crore.

The civil petition was in a case, National Bank Ltd vs MR Trading Co, in Appellate Division cause list.

After a court order, former attorney general AF Hassan Arif said: "Attorney general went to the chief justice to ask for action against an order issued by that High Court bench.

"He said the attorney general had suggested the matter to be taken to the president, and not the Supreme Judicial Council." 

He added: "Two other former attorney generals and president of the Supreme Court Bar Association have also appreciated it."

He furthered that the Supreme Court had expressed extreme dissatisfaction regarding the matter, and said that such preposterous orders disrespect the court or law.

Later, the media went to the attorney general's office for comment on the matter, but was unable to get a statement as he was leaving his office.