The Appellate Division has rejected appeals of former editor of ‘Bhorer Kagaj’ Abed Khan and correspondent Samaresh Baidya in a contempt of court charge.
This pertained to a report regarding the LLB certificate of a former High Court justice.
The Appellate Division has however exempted ‘Bhorer Kagaj’ Publisher Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, erstwhile publisher Mahfuz Anam (Editor of The Daily Star), and correspondents Ekramul Haque Bulbul and Masud Milad from the charge granting their appeals against a High Court order on the report.
A four-member bench headed by Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana issued the verdict on Thursday.
It, however, commuted Baidya’s sentence given by the High Court.
Baidya will have to pay fine of Tk 1000 or seven days in jail instead of two months’ imprisonment and fine of Tk 1000.
It also fined Abed Khan the same amount, counsel for the complainant ABM SIddiqur Rahman Khan said.
Faisal Mahmud Fayezi resigned as High Court Justice in the face of widespread criticism after investigation started over the alleged forgery of his LLB certificate and he was accused of not issuing verdicts in 180 cases.
The High Court had in 2005 fined editors, publishers and correspondents of the two dailies Tk 1000 fine each after Fayezi’s father filed a contempt of court over the issue.
AM Amin Uddin, counsel for Saber Hossain Chowdhury, told bdnews24.com, “Bhorer Kagaj had published a photo along with the report. I think that is why it faced a verdict different from that issued against the two other dailies.”
Barrister Sara Hossain argued for Prothom Alo journalists.
Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud argued for Abed Khan and Samaresh Baidya.
Barrister Ajmalul Hossain QC stood for the complainant, former ambassador Mohammad Fayez, who is father of the retired justice.
Fayezi was appointed as High Court Justice on Aug 23, 2004.
On Oct 30 that year, Bhorer Kagaj and Prothom Alo had run reports on his LLB certificate alleging forgery of the mark sheet.
Fayezi’s father filed a contempt of court in the High Court on the matter.
The HC had on Mar 21, 2005 sentenced editors, publishers and correspondents of the two dailies.
The next year, Fayezi was made permanent as justice defying the recommendation of the then chief justice.
The Chittagong University (CU) had on Mar 3, 2007 cancelled Fayezi’s LLB certificate after forgery was proven.
A total of 2400 certificates were cancelled that day.
The then chief justice absolved Fayezi of his duties on Mar 4 the same year.
A gazette was issued on Mar 16 that year.
Fayezi filed a petition challenging cancellation of the certificate.
An HC bench on Mar 19 that year ordered postponement of the CU decision on the cancellation of the certificate.
The same day, the Supreme Judicial Council sent the first reference of the certificate forgery to the former president.
On Mar 21, the president directed the council to probe the allegation.
Later allegations were leveled against him for neglect of duty as he had not issued any verdict on 180 cases.
The council on Jun 26, 2007 sent the second reference of this issue and the president ordered a probe.
Fayezi was sent notice twice on the matter but he did not receive them.
Later, his personal assistant in the court and caretaker of his residence received the notices.
The council asked Fayezi to explain neglect of duty on July 15.
Meanwhile, he resigned on July 12, 2007 and appeared before the council.
The HC on Aug 6 that year declared that Fayezi’s certificate was legal and cancelled the CU decision.
It also ordered the CU authorities to pay Fayezi Tk 20,000 as compensation.
According to the verdict, it was a criminal offence to revoke a certificate 17 years after the results were published.
On taking so much time, the court also said the university authorities were either incompetent or negligent.
The CU authorities filed an appeal against the verdict but it is pending.
Source: Bd news24