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Judge Kamrunnahar stripped of judicial power

Attached to law ministry

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 15 November, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

The Supreme Court (SC) has temporarily revoked the judicial power of Begum Mosammat Kamrunnahar, judge of Dhaka’s Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-7, for making a controversial observation in her judgment on the Raintree hotel double rape case.

Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain in consultation with other judges of the Appellate Division of the apex court took the decision on Sunday morning, said SC Special Officer Md Saifur Rahman.

The SC asked Judge Kamrunnahar to refrain from discharging judicial duties until further decision, he said.

She was also withdrawn from the tribunal and attached to law ministry in compliance with the SC order.

SC sources said Kamrunnahar’s judicial power has been suspended for passing an observation suggesting that police should not accept any rape case filed after the expiry of 72 hours into the incident.

Judge Kamrunnahar came to the court around 8:30am on Sunday but did not discharge the judicial function following the SC order, said Afroza Farhana Ahmed Orange, public prosecutor of the tribunal.

The decision of the apex court came just a day after Law Minister Anisul Huq on Saturday told journalists that he would send a letter to the Chief Justice seeking action against the judge.

Apart from suspending her judicial power, the SC recommended that Kamrunnahar be attached with law ministry.

She was later withdrawn from the tribunal and attached to the Law and Justice Division under the ministry.    An order, signed by Senior Assistant Secretary of the Law and Justice Division Md Sahabuddin, was issued on Sunday afternoon in this regard.

On November 11, Judge Kamrunnahar acquitted all the five accused in a case filed over the double rape that took place at The Raintree Dhaka hotel.

She said no incident of violation took place in the hotel as the complainants went there, took wine, danced and had sex willingly.

Those who were acquitted are Shafat Ahmed, son of Apan Jewellers co-owner Dildar Ahmed, Shafat's friend Shadman Sakif, director of Regnum Group, Nayem Ashraf, an employee of E-Makers Event Management, Shafat's driver Billal Hossain and bodyguard Rahmat Ali.

Her observation invited criticism from legal fraternity as top jurists opined that there is no time bar to filing a criminal case.

About Sunday’s development, the law minister told journalists that the observation made by the judge has created serious confusion among the law enforcement agencies who are advised by her not to accept a rape case after 72 hours of the incident.

Had the government and Supreme Court not taken step, the observation made by the judge would have sent a wrong message to the police and cast an adverse impact on the proceedings of the rape cases, he said.

Anisul said the observation of Judge Kamrunnahar is also embarrassing for all the judges of the country.

Replying to a query, he said the observation made by the judge is illegal and unconstitutional having serious consequences.

The law minister said Kamrunnahar will be show-caused for making an unconstitutional observation. “Every day, judges across the courts pass judgments on various cases. Some people become happy with judgments while some others don’t. The aggrieved people have the right to file appeals against such judgments. The judges are totally independent in discharging judicial duties. But the observation made by Judge Kamrunnahar is unlike other judicial decisions. She deserves action which will be taken as per the law. She will be show-caused and given chance to clarify her act,” he said.

Criminal cases are not time-barred, he said, adding that the Bangabandhu killing case was filed 21 years after the incident.

Citing “right to protection of law” of all citizens guaranteed by article 31 of the Constitution, Anisul said the judge concerned made the observation violating the principles of the both criminal law and the Constitution.

Two private university students were allegedly raped at gunpoint at a birthday party from 9:00pm on March 28, 2017 to 10:00am the following day.

On May 6, 2017, a rape case was filed against five people, including Shafat, with Banani Police Station.