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CONTEMPT OF COURT ACT - Kamal seeks to uphold amendments

Bangladesh on 25 September 2013
Location : Bangladesh | Source : New Age.

Jurist Kamal Hossain on Tuesday sought to intervene in a writ petition challenging the legality of the amendment of eight provisions incorporated in the Contempt of the Courts Act 2013 which was enacted on February 23.

The application, made on behalf of the Bangladesh Administrative Service Association and Prothom Alo’s joint editor Mizanur Rahman Khan, questioned the maintainability of the writ petition and argued that the provisions should be upheld.

The bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain ruled that the court could not at this stage entertain the applications as it would soon be delivering its judgement on the writ petition but agreed to keep the application ‘on its record.’

The court, however, said that it would allow Kamal Hossain to present his opinion on the contempt matter today.

Kamal told the court that his submission would be in support of the arguments that had previously been made by the attorney general, Mahbubey Alam, who was present in court. 

The application, which sought to intervene in the writ petition, had been filed earlier and it came up for hearing on Tuesday. 

In July, the same bench completed hearing in the rule issued on April 3 asking the government to explain the constitutionality of eight provisions.

The bench passed the order after hearing a public interest litigation writ petition filed by lawyers Asaduzzaman Siddiqui and Ayeasha Khatoon challenging the legality of the Section 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 13(2) of the Contempt of the Courts Act 2013.

Section 4 stipulates that people will not commit contempt by making publication or expression by verbal or written words or visible signs or display regarding any proceedings of a court if they have no reason to believe that the matter was pending with the court.

It also stipulates that any publication or expression by verbal or written words or visible signs or display regarding any proceedings of a court, which is not pending with the court, will not constitute contempt.

The distribution of such publications also will not constitute contempt if there is no reason for the distributor to believe that the matter is pending with the court, the section says.
Section 5 stipulates that publication of any objective and unbiased news on any proceedings of any court or any part thereof or publication of any fair and unbiased comment on the merit of case after its disposal will not constitute contempt.

Section 6 says that that making any statement before a higher court or the Supreme Court about a judge of a subordinate court in good faith will not amount to contempt.

The publication of any unbiased and objective news on any proceedings conducted in the chamber of a judge or ‘in camera’ will also not constitute contempt unless the court imposes a bar on such publication in public interest, says Section 7.

Section 9 stipulates that no action, which is not punishable under the act, would constitute contempt.

According to Section 10, if it is not possible for a public servant to implement or go by any judgement, order or direction because of any existing laws and rules or any other practical reasons, no contempt petition can be filed against the public servant.

Section 11 says that any accused will be allowed to give explanation and to be represented by a lawyer and the court will have the power to order the contemners to appear in court if it thinks that the contemners should be given personal hearing for the ends of justice.

Section 13(2) allows contemners to tender unqualified or unconditional apologies during the hearing in the appeal against the sentences against them.

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