Dhaka High Court judges threatened to call the police after former prime minister Khaleda Zia's lawyers shouted slogans in a courtroom and threatened them, calling them "agents" of the government, media reports said on Monday.
Pleading for their safety, the judges were Sunday forced to adjourn proceedings of the case pertaining to Zia "illegally" occupying a house in Dhaka Cantonment where she has lived for nearly 30 years. The group of junior lawyers, believed to be Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) supporters, said they did not expect the court to dispense justice to their client, The Daily Star said.
The house was allotted to her by the government in 1982 as a gesture to her husband, slain former president Ziaur Rahman. But the present government says she "manipulated" the allotment. Hasina has publicly asked Zia to quit the house.
The judges urged senior lawyers appearing for Zia, including former minister Moudud Ahmed, to restrain the 100-odd errant juniors or ask them to leave.
However, Ahmed said the case before the high court was "political" and the lawyers, as members of public, had a right to be present.
The incident was termed unprecedented, the newspaper said.
Pro-BNP lawyers said slogan shouting had taken place in the Supreme Court in 2006 by lawyers representing then opposition leader and now Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The slogan-shouting lawyers called the two judges, Mohammed Imman Ali and Obaidul Hasan, "agents of Awami League presidium".
When judges threatened to call the police, the group of lawyers said they were ready to get arrested.
The junior lawyers later left the courtroom at the request of senior lawyers and then took out a procession on Supreme Court premises, chanting political slogans.