Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain yesterday assigned a High Court bench to hear and dispose of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's writ petitions regarding the cancellation of her nomination papers.
The bench of Justice JBM Hassan fixed 2:00pm today for hearing the three writ petitions, Deputy Attorney General Motaher Hossain Sazu told The Daily Star.
Khaleda on Sunday filed the petitions challenging the Election Commission's rejection of her appeals against cancellation of her nomination papers (Bogura-6, 7 and Feni-1) by returning officers.
The CJ assigned the HC bench to hear the petitions after receiving the split order in detail from the two HC judges concerned, Md Saifur Rahman, special officer at the Supreme Court, told this correspondent yesterday.
Earlier in the day, the CJ sent the split order to the HC judges concerned and asked them to write the order in detail including the reasons, he added.
On Tuesday, Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed, senior judge of the HC bench, wanted to direct the EC to accept Khaleda's nominations and allow her to contest the December 30 polls.
He also wanted to issue a rule on the EC asking it to explain why its decision on Khaleda's nominations should not be declared illegal.
However, Justice Md Iqbal Kabir Lytton, junior judge of the bench, disagreed on the senior judge's order.
Khaleda filed the three writ petitions seeking HC directives on the EC to accept her nomination papers so that she could run in the polls.
She also prayed to the HC to issue a rule asking the EC why its decisions on her nomination papers should not be declared illegal, said Khaleda's lawyer Kayser Kamal.
The BNP chief landed in jail on February 8 after a special court in Dhaka had sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The HC later extended her jail term to 10 years.
The same court on October 29 had sentenced Khaleda to seven years' rigorous imprisonment in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
SC DIRECTIVES ON BNP NOMINEES
The Supreme Court yesterday extended its chamber judge's order that stayed the HC directives clearing the way for BNP leaders Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu and Iqbal Hasan Mahmud Tuku to contest the national election.
A seven-member bench of the Appellate Division of the SC, headed by the chief justice, came up with the order after hearing two petitions filed by the EC seeking stay on the HC orders.
Following the order, Dulu and Tuku cannot take part in the election, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and Dulu's lawyer Aminul Haque Helal told reporters.
The attorney general said the two BNP leaders were convicted and sentenced to imprisonments by the trial courts concerned in criminal cases.
The EC had rejected their appeals against the cancellation of their nomination papers by ROs. But the HC on Monday stayed the EC's decisions as the court had earlier stayed their convictions and jail sentences, the attorney general said.
According to Alam, if any person is convicted and sentenced to more than two years' imprisonment for moral turpitude, he or she may not be eligible to contest the election as per article 66(2) (d) of the constitution.
On Tuesday, Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, chamber judge of the Appellate Division, stayed for a day the HC's order approving on their candidacies. The judge gave the order in response to appeals filed by the EC.
The SC yesterday stayed for a day the HC order that halted the EC's decision allowing BNP nominee Tamiz Uddin to contest the national polls from Dhaka-20.
Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, chamber judge of the Appellate Division, passed the order following a petition filed by Tamiz seeking stay on the HC order.
The chamber judge also sent Tamiz's petition to the full bench of the apex court for its hearing today, Shanjid Siddique, a lawyer for Tamiz, told The Daily Star.
He said Tamiz, chairman of Dhamrai upazila, would contest the election if the full bench extended the apex court chamber judge's order.
On Tuesday, the HC stayed the EC decision that allowed Tamiz to run in the polls.
The HC passed the order following a writ petition filed by the Awami League candidate in the constituency, Benzir Ahmed, challenging the EC's decision to allow Tamiz to contest the polls claiming that he was holding the profitable post of upazila chairman.
AFZAL H KHAN
In another development, the HC yesterday directed the EC to accept the nomination of BNP candidate Afzal H Khan (Mymensingh-1) and to allocate “sheaf of paddy” to him as his election symbol.
The bench of Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Shohrowardi passed the order following a writ petition filed by Afzal challenging the EC's decision not to allow him to contest the election, Deputy Attorney General Amatul Karim Swapna told this correspondent.