The Supreme Court yesterday set August 19 for hearing a petition filed by the government seeking stay on the High Court order that issued status quo on publication of gazette notification on implementing the recommendation of ninth wage board for journalists.
Chamber judge of the Appellate Division of the SC Justice Md Nuruzzaman sent the stay petition to its full bench for hearing on August 19.
Earlier in the day, Justice Md Nuruzzaman refused to hear on the petition, saying he was once a lawyer for Bangla daily Prothom Alo’s Editor and Publisher Matiur Rahman, who is also the president of the Newspaper Owners’ Association of Bangladesh (Noab).
Following a writ petition filed by Matiur Rahman, the HC on August 6 issued a status quo for two months on publication of gazette notification on implementing the recommendation of ninth wage board.
The government, in a recent petition with the SC seeking a stay on the HC order, said the writ petition that challenged the legality of the ninth wage board and its recommendation is premature, as the government is yet to issue any gazette notification on the recommendation.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam yesterday placed the government’s stay petition before the chamber judge of the Appellate Division.
Advocate AF Hasan Ariff appeared for the Noab president.
Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukdar also appeared for the government.
On July 25 this year, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader had said a cabinet committee on ninth wage board award for newspaper and news agency journalists and other employees has finalised its report for cabinet endorsement.
Quader, who heads the seven-member cabinet committee, had told newsmen “after the final approval [by the cabinet], a gazette will be published” for its implementation.
In the writ petition, Noab president Matiur Rahman said the labour ministry is responsible for the formation of the wage board as per the rules of business issued by the president. But the ninth wage board has been formed by the information ministry in violation of the rules of business.
The government on January 29 last year constituted the ninth wage board, headed by Appellate Division’s former judge Justice Md Nizamul Huq to propose enhanced salary and other benefits for journalists and other employees of newspapers and news agencies.
The owners who were made members of the body are: Noab president Matiur Rahman, vice-president AK Azad, treasurer Motiur Rahman Chowdhury, members Mahfuz Anam and Tasmima Hossain, and convener of Bangladesh Sangbadpatra Parishad MG Kibria Chowdhury.
Newspaper employees are being represented in the board by president of Bangladesh Newspaper Workers’ Federation (BNWA) M Motiur Rahman Talukder, BNWA secretary general M Khairul Islam, president of Bangladesh Federal Union of Newspaper Press Workers (BFUNPW) Mohammad Alamgir Hossian Khan and BFUNPW secretary general Mohammad Kamal Uddin.