MPs can't be at helm without election: HC
From now on, no lawmaker can become chairman of the governing body of any private school and college without elections.
MPs cannot even nominate anybody for the post.
The High Court yesterday declared illegal the rules that were allowing them to become chiefs of the committees of the educational institutions.
A lawmaker, however, can become the chairman through election to the governing body, and that too, of maximum four educational institutions, ruled the court while delivering a verdict on two writ petitions.
There are allegations that several ruling party lawmakers flout government rules to become chairmen of governing bodies of private educational institutions in their constituencies.
They also allegedly nominate their relatives for the post in a bid to appoint teachers of their choice.
There are over 18,500 non-government secondary schools in the country and all of them are being run by their governing bodies.
Yesterday, the HC scrapped the special governing body of the capital's Viqarunnisa Noon School and College led by Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon.
The court also asked the authorities concerned of the government to create an ad-hoc committee which would hold an election and form a regular governing body in the institution in six months.
The court said the members of existing governing bodies of other such institutions can retain their posts until their tenure expires, Deputy Attorney General Israt Jahan told reporters.
She said the government would move an appeal before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC), challenging the HC verdict.
The HC bench of Justice Zinat Ara and Justice AKM Zahirul Hoque delivered the verdict hearing two separate writ petitions filed by SC lawyer Eunus Ali Akond.
The petitions challenged the legality of Sections 5 and 50 of Non-government School College Governing Body Regulation-2009 which permitted formation of special governing bodies in educational institutions and the lawmakers to hold the posts of chairman.
Eunus told The Daily Star that the HC declared the two sections of the regulation illegal and unconstitutional as “they are against the constitution”.
The lawmakers can neither hold such posts nor nominate anybody for them following the HC verdict, he said, adding that such special governing bodies could no longer operate now.
The authorities concerned of the government would now create ad hoc committees for holding elections and forming regular governing bodies in such institutions, Eunus said.
He said the HC declared the two sections of the 2009 regulation illegal as they were against articles 11 and 65 of the constitution.
As per article 11, the representatives of any forum of administration will be picked through elections.
The article says, "The Republic shall be a democracy in which fundamental human rights and freedoms and respect for the dignity and worth of the human person shall be guaranteed and in which effective participation by the people through their elected representatives in administration at all levels shall be ensured".
Under Article 65, the lawmakers are permitted to formulate laws, but they cannot do that properly as they keep holding posts of chairman of governing bodies of four separate institutions, he said.
The lawyer said the section 5 of the 2009 regulation is also against the Secondary and Higher Secondary Ordinance, 1961.
The ordinance under which the regulation was formulated did not allow formation of special committee at any school and college, said Eunus.
In January, a writ petition was filed with the HC, challenging the legality of the Viqarunnisa Noon School and College's special governing body led by Rashed Khan Menon.
The HC following another writ petition on February 17, 2013 issued a rule asking the government and Menon to explain why the formation of the special governing body led by the minister should not be declared illegal, said the lawyer.
Eunus in April submitted another writ petition with the SC, challenging the legality of Sections 5 and 50 of Non-government School College Governing Body Regulation, 2009, saying the sections went against the constitution.