BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday submitted three petitions to the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on the High Court orders on cancellation of her nomination papers.
The HC on December 18 summarily rejected three writ petitions by Khaleda, saying the EC rightly upheld the returning officers' decision to cancel Khaleda's nomination papers for Feni-1, Bogura-6 and Bogura-7, as she was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in jail in two cases.
The petitions were submitted to the office concerned of the Appellate Division of the SC through advocate-on-record, AKM Ehsanur Rahman, said a lawyer representing Khaleda.
In the petitions, Khaleda prayed to the apex court to direct the EC to accept her nomination papers, to allow her to contest the December 30 election and to allocate the “sheaf of paddy” as her symbol, the lawyer said, adding that the SC chamber judge may hear the petitions today.
In the December 18 rejection, the HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan passed the order saying if a person is convicted and sentenced to more than two years in prison for moral turpitude, they are not eligible to participate in elections in five years after serving in prison.
On December 11, the HC bench of Justice Refaat and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir Lytton passed split orders on the three petitions. The next day, the chief justice assigned the bench of Justice Hassan to dispose of the petitions.
Khaleda landed in jail on February 8 after a special court in Dhaka sentenced her in the Zia Orphanage Trust case. On October 29, she was sentenced in another case.
Also yesterday, eight upazila chairmen, whose candidacy was cancelled by the HC, filed separate petitions with the Appellate Division of the SC to regain their candidacy.
They submitted the petitions to the apex court through their lawyers seeking a stay on the HC orders and to direct the EC to allow them to contest the election.
The chamber judge of the apex court may hear the petitions today, Shah Monjurul Hoque, the lawyer for the writ petitioners who challenged the candidacy of the upazila chairmen, told The Daily Star.
The eight upazila chairmen are Khondokar Abu Ashfaq (BNP) for Dhaka-1, Faridul Kabir Talukdar (BNP) for Jamalpur-4, Fazlur Rahman (BNP) for Joypurhat-1, Abdul Majid (BNP) for Jhenidah-2, Mahmud Hasan Suman (independent) for Mymensingh-8, Abu Sayeed Chan (BNP) for Rajshahi-6, Md Asaduzzaman (independent) for Rangpur-1, and Moslem Uddin (BNP) Brahmanbaria-4.
The HC recently disqualified them from contesting the election as their resignations from the posts of upazila chairmen were not accepted by the government.
A total of 18 candidates, including 15 BNP nominees, lost their candidacy following orders from the Appellate and HC Divisions.