The High Court yesterday stayed for three months the Election Commission's (EC) decisions to allow BNP candidates M Rashiduzzaman Millat and Tahsina Rushdir Luna to participate in the upcoming general election.
The court also issued separate rules asking the EC to explain in four weeks why its decisions should not be declared illegal.
The bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam issued the orders and rules following two writ petitions.
Luna is the wife of missing BNP leader Ilias Ali. She is a candidate from Sylhet-2. Millat, a former lawmaker, is vying for Jamalpur-1.
Awami League candidate of the constituency Abul Kalam Azad challenged Millat's candidacy, while Jatiya Party candidate Yahia Chowdhury challenged Luna's through moving separate writ petitions.
Abul Kalam Azad's lawyer Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan told The Daily Star that Millat cannot run in the election unless the apex court rules otherwise.
A trial court sentenced Millat to seven years' imprisonment in a corruption case during the tenure of the military-backed caretaker government.
The HC had acquitted him in the case, the lawyer said, adding that the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court later cancelled the HC verdict and directed to hold a further hearing on the appeal against the conviction.
The returning officer cancelled Millat's nomination paper as his appeal is still pending with the HC, but the EC has allowed him to contest the election, which is illegal, Advocate Khurshid added.
On the other hand, Yahia Chowdhury said in his writ petition that Luna cannot contest the polls, as she retired from government service on August 1 this year.
As per the Representation of the People Order, a person is not eligible to contest the polls for three years after retiring from a government job, he added in the petition.
Advocate Shafiqul Islam Babul appeared for Yahia, while Deputy Attorney General Motaher Hossain Sazu represented the government.
Meanwhile yesterday, the apex court fixed December 17 for passing orders on three separate petitions regarding whether incumbent upazila chairmen can contest the parliamentary election.
One of the petitions was filed by Dhamrai upazila chairman and BNP nominee Tamiz Uddin, against an HC order that stayed the EC's decision allowing him to contest the national polls from Dhaka-20.
Earlier, the HC stayed EC's decision on Tamiz's electioneering, following a writ petition filed by Awami League candidate Benazir Ahmed.
In the petition, Benazir claimed that as Tamiz is holding the office of Dhamrai upazila chairman, he is ineligible for contesting the polls.
Following the petition, the chamber judge on Wednesday ruled against the HC order and cleared Tamiz's way for contesting the polls.
The apex court yesterday extended till December 17 the chamber judge's order allowing Tamiz Uddin to campaign till Monday, his lawyer Barrister Shanjid Siddique told The Daily Star.
Two other petitions were filed by the EC seeking a stay on HC orders that directed the commission to allow Badal Sarker and Abdul Muhit Talukder, two upazila chairmen and BNP nominees, to contest the election for Bogura-7 and 3 respectively.