HC summons Amar Desh editor, Sangsad reporterStaff Correspondent
The High Court on Sunday asked the editor of Amar Desh and Sangsad Reporter to appear before it on July 12 to show cause why they would not be punished for publishing a ‘false, fictitious, fabricated, spurious and absolutely baseless report’ with the intention of undermining Justice Shamsuddin’s dignity.
The bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain summoned them in a suo moto rule after hearing the opinions of senior lawyers including Rokon Uddin Mahmood and ZI Khan Panna on a report published in the Bangla daily on June 17.
The front page report in Amar Desh’s June 17 issue, titled ‘Speaker’s ruling regarding Justice Shamsuddin Manik uncertain’, in its third paragraph referred to sources and said that a meeting of compromise was held between the concerned Justice and more than one aggrieved lawmaker at Hotel Westin in Gulshan.
In the ongoing parliamentary session on May 5, a number of lawmakers — being infuriated by Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury’s remark that speaker Abdul Hamid in Parliament on May 29 committed ‘sedition’ by taking the decision to relocate the Roads and Highways Department elsewhere — set the three-day deadline for forming the three-member judicial council headed by the chief justice, the only body authorised to remove judges for misconduct or charter violation, and to sack the Justice concerned.
On the following day, the deputy speaker told the House that he had discussed the issue with the speaker and that he would give his ruling on it.
Justice Shamsuddin said that he attended a party hosted by the editor of Ittefaq, Anwar Hossain Manju, honouring the outgoing Indian deputy high commissioner Sanjay Bhattacharya, at the said hotel last week where more than 20 guests including economist Debapriya Bhattacharya, New Age editor Nurul Kabir, senior lawyer Rokon Uddin Mahmood and a lawmaker were present.
He said that he sat at the corner of a table and the lawmaker sat in the other corner, far away from him, and there was no exchange of words between him and the lawmaker.
‘I never compromise with anyone, I have learnt not to compromise under any circumstances,’ said Justice Shamsuddin.
He termed the report an example of vindictive and yellow journalism and said that the report had dishonoured everyone present there.
On Sunday, when asked by the court for his opinion, senior lawyer Rokon Uddin Mahmood, who also attended the party, said the newspaper had earlier published questionable reports and the said report was not only false but also baseless and politically motivated.
Senior lawyer ZI Khan Panna, in his opinion, said a few people had been misusing freedom of the press and the report was published to humiliate not only Justice Shamsuddin but also the judiciary.
Justice Shamsuddin said that if there is no protest against the report, people will think that it is true though it is ‘false, fictitious, fabricated, spurious and absolutely baseless’.
The HC bench passed a rule against editor of Amar Desh, Mahabubur Rahman, and Sangsad Reporter to appear before the court on July 12 to answer why they would not be punished for contempt of court for publishing such a false and baseless report with a view to undermining the dignity of Justice Shamsuddin.
The court also asked the respondents to make a thorough inquiry into the matter and to publish the true report.
The court also directed them to provide a copy of the order to Anwar Hossain Manju, Nurul Kabir and Debapriya Bhattacharya for information only, not for publication.
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