POST TIME: 12 December, 2018 01:05:23 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 December, 2018 01:23:06 AM
HC gives split order on Khaleda’s candidature
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

HC gives split order on Khaleda’s candidature

A High Court (HC) bench yesterday (Tuesday) delivered a split order on three writ petitions filed by jailed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia challenging the order of the Election Commission (EC) that upheld the returning officers’ decision to reject her nomination papers.

The senior judge of the bench, Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed, qualified Khaleda Zia in the elections with her appeal against conviction pending for hearing. But the junior judge of the bench, Justice Md Iqbal Kabir, disqualified her as a candidate after she was convicted in two cases by the trial court.

Lawyers concerned said the senior judge of the two-member High Court bench ruled in favour of BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s participation in the upcoming elections while the junior judge disagreed with him. The HC bench sent the split orders to the Chief Justice for his decision on the matter.

As per the provisions, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain will form a third bench for final hearing and disposal of the petitions.

Supreme Court sources said the Chief Justice would form the third bench to settle the dispute over Khaleda’s candidature today (Wednesday).

The BNP chief filed the writ petitions challenging the EC's decisions that upheld the returning officers' cancellation of all her three nomination papers at Bogura-6, Bogura-7 and Feni-1.

Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed, the senior judge of the bench, directed the EC to accept the nomination papers of the former premier and allow her to contest the December 30 general elections. The judge also issued a rule asking the EC to explain why its decision on the nomination papers of Khaleda Zia should not be declared illegal.

On the other hand, the junior judge of the bench Justice Md Iqbal Kabir disagreed with the senior judge’s order and rejected her petitions.

Earlier, on Monday, after concluding the hearing, the same bench of the HC fixed yesterday (Tuesday) for delivering its order on the petitions.

During the hearing, advocate AJ Mohammad Ali argued for Khaleda while attorney-general Mahbubey Alam stood for the state.

On Sunday, former prime minister Khaleda Zia filed the petitions also seeking HC directives to the EC to accept the nomination papers so that she can contest from Bogura-6, Bogura-7 and Feni-1 constituencies.

Her nominations for Feni-1, Bogura-6 and Bogura-7 constituencies were rejected by the respective returning officers. The EC also upheld these decisions, prompting the former prime minister to move the HC yesterday. On behalf of Khaleda, Kaisar Kamal filed the appeal for Feni-1, Nowshad Jamin for Bogura-6 and Masud Ahmed Talukder for Bogura-7.

Khaleda Zia was jailed for five years on February 8 this year in relation to the Zia Orphanage Trust embezzlement case. Her punishment was doubled by the HC on October 30. A day before that, she was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment by a special court, also in connection with the Zia Charitable Trust embezzlement case.