BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday filed three writ petitions with the High Court, challenging the legality of the Election Commission's rejection of the appeals against cancellation of her all three nomination papers.
Khaleda filed the petitions through her lawyers, seeking HC directives on the EC to accept the nomination papers so that she can run from Bogura-6, 7 and Feni-1 constituencies.
The HC will hold hearing on the petitions today, Zainul Abedin, a lawyer for the BNP chief, told The Daily Star.
Citing from the petitions, he said the EC rejected Khaleda's appeals on the grounds of violating the electoral code of conduct.
But the question of Khaleda's violating the code does not arise as she has been in jail since February, the counsel pointed out.
Replying to a question, Zainul said the EC in its orders has not mentioned Khaleda's conviction as a reason for rejecting her appeals with it.
Another lawyer for the BNP chief, Kayser Kamal, told this correspondent that the EC illegally scrapped her appeals with a malafide intention.
On Saturday, the EC rejected her all three appeals against cancellation of her nomination papers by returning officers (ROs).
Khaleda landed in jail on February 8 after a special court in Dhaka sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. The HC later extended her jail term to 10 years.
On October 29, Khaleda was convicted and sentenced to seven years' rigorous imprisonment by the same court in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
The HC yesterday directed the EC to accept the nomination papers of 11 candidates and allow them to contest the upcoming election.
The EC recently upheld the ROs' cancellation of their nomination papers on different grounds.
Of the 11, eight are from the BNP, two are independent candidates and one is from the Jatiya Party.
The BNP contenders are Amjad Hossain Sarker in Nilphamari-4, Syed Jahangir Alam in Dinajpur-3, Fahmid Faisal Chowdhury in Nilphamari-3, Nazmul Haque in Naogaon-5, Towhidul Islam in Panchagarh-1, Badal Sarker in Bogura-7, Abdul Muhit Talukder in Bogura-3, and AKM Mahbubur Rahman in Bogura-6.
The two independent candidates are Imran H Sarker in Kurigram-4 and Afzal Hossain in Naogaon-4.
The JP candidate is Kazi Ashraf Siddiqui in Tangail-8.
Two HC benches passed the orders in response to writ petitions filed by the candidates challenging the EC's rejection of their appeals against cancellation of their nomination papers by ROs.
The HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil delivered orders on the petitions of nine of the candidates, while the bench led by Justice Tariq ul Hakim gave orders on the petitions of the two other contenders.
Besides, the HC benches upheld the EC's scrapping of four aspirants' appeals against cancellation of their nomination papers.
The four include Mushfiqur Rahman of the BNP in Brahmanbaria-4.
The court rejected their writ petitions on the grounds that those were not placed before it properly.
HAWLADER'S WRIT PETITION
JP chairman's Special Assistant Ruhul Amin Hawlader filed a writ petition with the HC yesterday, challenging the EC's rejection of the appeal against cancellation of his nomination papers for Patuakhali-1.
Hawlader, a presidium member of the JP and also a lawmaker, submitted the petition seeking HC directive on the EC to accept his nomination papers.
Talking to this newspaper, his lawyer Ashik-Al Jalil said the EC scrapped the appeal following a Bangladesh Bank a letter, which stated that Hawlader is a loan defaulter at the Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd (SIBL).
Jalil said the SIBL allowed his client to reschedule the loans, but the EC did not consider the matter when it heard the JP leader's appeal.
The lawyer claimed that the central bank cannot declare a person loan defaulter because only the bank, which gives the loan, can do so.
As the SIBL has not declared Hawlader a loan defaulter, the EC's rejection of his appeal is illegal, Jalil added.
The JP leader's nomination papers were rejected by the RO concerned during scrutiny on December 2.
Yesterday, the HC bench of Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Shohrowardi started hearing Hawlader's writ petition. The hearing is scheduled to resume today.