Petition on No-Confidence in HC Bench: Khaleda's lawyers seek one more day
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's lawyers yesterday sought a day from the High Court bench of Justice JBM Hassan to submit a petition expressing “no confidence” in the bench.
The bench, which has been assigned by the chief justice to dispose of the three writ petitions regarding cancellation of Khaleda's nomination papers, gave them the time until 10:30am today.
Bodruddoza Badal, a lawyer for Khaleda, told the bench that they could not complete the swearing affidavit on her (no-confidence) application yesterday.
Earlier in the day, Khaleda's lawyers AJ Mohammad Ali and Badal took time from the court, saying that they would submit the application by 2:00pm yesterday.
During the court proceedings in the afternoon, Justice Hassan told the lawyers that they were not interested to move the petitions before his bench, although the bench considered those an urgent matter related to election.
The judge also said the lawyers kept him waiting for nothing.
Additional Attorney General Murad Reza told the court that Khaleda's lawyers could not understand what they should do.
After the court proceedings, Badal told The Daily Star that the no-confidence application would be submitted today. In it, Khaleda will request the bench to send her writ petitions to the chief justice, the lawyer said, adding that she has no confidence in the bench of Justice JBM Hassan as he is junior to Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed, who presided over a two-judge HC bench that passed dissenting orders on the petitions.
The bench of a judge, who is senior to Justice Refaat, should hear the petitions, he said.
On December 13, the BNP chief's lawyers verbally expressed no confidence in the bench of Justice JBM Hassan on behalf of Khaleda, citing the same reason. Justice Hassan asked the lawyers to place their written statement before him by yesterday.
On December 11, the HC bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir Lytton passed split orders on Khaleda's writ petitions.
Justice Refaat, the senior judge of the bench, stayed for three months the EC's rejection of her appeals against cancellation of her nomination papers for Bogura-6, 7 and Feni-1 by returning officers.
The judge ordered the EC and the returning officers to allow Khaleda to complete all necessary formalities to contest the 11th parliamentary election.
He also issued a rule asking the EC and the government to explain in two weeks why Khaleda should not be allowed to run and why the decisions of the returning officers and the EC about her nominations should not be declared illegal.
On the other hand, Justice Iqbal, the junior judge of the bench, summarily rejected the writ petitions on four grounds, including that the petitions of Khaleda were not acceptable as she was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison in two cases.
The bench then sent the petitions along with the orders to the chief justice for a decision.
On December 12, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain assigned the HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan to hear and dispose of the petitions.
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, she was sentenced to seven years' rigorous imprisonment by the same court in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
In another development, the Supreme Court yesterday upheld an HC order that granted Khaleda bail in an arson case filed in Cumilla in 2015.
A seven-member bench of the SC's Appellate Division headed by the chief justice passed the order after dismissing a leave to appeal petition filed by the government challenging the HC order.
The BNP chief cannot walk out of jail following the HC order as she is arrested in a few other cases, Deputy Attorney General Md Bashir Ullah told this correspondent.
The case was lodged with Cumilla's Chauddagram Police Station under the Special Powers Act, 1974, for setting fire to a lorry in Chauddagram during an anti-government agitation on January 25, 2015.
Following an appeal by Khaleda, the HC on November 28 granted her bail in the case.