The High Court yesterday directed the government to immediately admit BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) for treatment.
In response to a writ petition, the court asked the authorities concerned of the government to form a fresh five-member medical board to examine Khaleda's health condition and start her treatment.
The board would be headed by doctors of internal medicine Prof Abdul Jalil Chowdhury and physiatrist Associate Professor Badrunnesa Ahmed of the BSMMU.
The HC ruled that other members of the board would not be anyone from the current or former members or supporters of Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad, a pro-Awami League doctors' organisation, or Doctors Association of Bangladesh (DAB), a pro-BNP physicians' platform, Khaleda's lawyers Bodruddza Badal and Kayser Kamal told The Daily Star.
The court said Khaleda's physiotherapy and diagnosis would take place as per her choice and that she could involve any physician outside the BSMMU in her treatment subject to approval from the medical board.
The BNP chief could be brought to the hospital following jail codes, the court ruled.
The bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil came up with the order following a writ petition filed by Khaleda seeking court directive on the government about sending her to a specialised hospital.
On September 9, she had filed the petition on health grounds as she has been suffering from various illnesses.
The government on September 13 had formed a medical team, led by Prof Abdul Jalil Chowdhury, for examining her health condition.
Other members of the team were cardiologist Prof Harisul Haque, orthopedic surgeon Prof Abu Zaffar Chowdhury, ophthalmologist Associate Professor Tariq Reza Ali and physiatrist Associate Professor Badrunnesa Ahmed of BSMMU.
Khaleda was sentenced to five years in prison on February 8 in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
During the hearing on the petition on October 3, Khaleda's lawyer AJ Mohammad Ali told the court that the government had formed the medical board with doctors from Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad.
As a result, Khaleda may not get fair treatment from that board, he argued.
He prayed to the HC to direct the government to send Khaleda to specialised United Hospital as per her choice.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam opposed the petition, saying the jail authorities had taken steps for providing necessary treatments to Khaleda.
Meanwhile yesterday, the HC continued for the 18th day the hearing on the appeal filed by Khaleda challenging a lower court verdict that sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case
After concluding yesterday's proceedings, the bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman fixed October 7 for resuming the hearing on the appeal.
AJ Mohammad Ali placed arguments for Khaleda, while Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan appeared for the ACC.