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Granting bail on mere ground of age is not rational: SC

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In the full text of a verdict, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) has observed that granting bail to anyone on the mere ground of age is not rational.  

A three-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Justice Md Nuruzzaman delivered the verdict on Tuesday after hearing a criminal petition for leave to appeal filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) against a High Court judgment.  

In the verdict, the apex court also criticised the High Court Division for granting bail to the Land Ministry's former administrative officer Md Kutub Uddin Ahmed. 

Kutub Uddin (62), who has been sentenced to five years imprisonment in a corruption case, was granted bail by the HC on grounds of his old age, without hearing the pending appeal against his conviction in the case. 

In the verdict, the apex court said, “The High Court Division didn't exercise its discretion judiciously, rather perversely in releasing the respondent convict (Kutub Uddin) on bail; hence, interference is called for.” 

After hearing a petition filed by the ACC challenging the HC order, the apex court bench delivered a short verdict on this issue on August 31 in 2022.  

Following a bail petition filed by Kutub Uddin, the HC bench of Justice Md Akhtaruzzaman on July 14 in 2022 granted six months' ad-interim bail to him in the corruption case.  

However, another HC bench on March 16 in 2022 admitted his appeal against his conviction for hearing, said ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan.  

A special court in Dhaka on February 14 convicted Kutub Uddin and sentenced him to five years imprisonment in the case of influencing the allocation of a 10-katha plot in Gulshan in the names of some of his relatives, including his father-in-law, using fake documents.  

Lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said Kutub Uddin, who was arrested on September 8, 2018, by the ACC from Dhaka's Segunbagicha, cannot get released from jail following the Appellate Division's verdict. 

“For non-bailable offences, bail is discretionary and may be given to any woman, child, sick or infirm detainee. The considerations of granting bail after the accused is convicted are entirely different,” the apex court observed. 

"Regarding the age and assorted maladies suffered by the appellant, we have been shown many cases where serious illness has been a ground for granting bail even in cases where granting of bail was prohibited by law... Albeit, the materials on record do not necessarily demonstrate that the illnesses suffered by the respondent are life-threatening." 

"It is the duty of the High Court Division to hear or dispose of the matter without any delay and not letting a convict on bail," the Appellate Division judges observed in the full text of the verdict.  

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