Fixing minimum age for freedom fighters illegal | Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 20, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 07:51 AM, May 20, 2019

Fixing minimum age for freedom fighters illegal

Declares HC

The High Court yesterday declared illegal the government circulars and gazette notifications fixing the minimum age of freedom fighters at 12 and a half years in 1971.

The circulars and gazette notifications and the section concerned of the Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust law regarding the freedom fighters’ age are illegal and contradictory to the constitution, the court said.

According to a gazette notification issued on January 17 last year by the Liberation War Affairs ministry, people who were aged at least 12 and a half on November 30, 1971 would be eligible to apply for the status of a freedom fighter.

The court also directed the government to give honorariums in 60 days to freedom fighters, who were not paid their allowances due to the age row. The 60 days will be counted from the day of receiving the copy of the verdict by the authorities

concerned, the HC said.

The HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil came up with the verdict after hearing 15 separate writ petitions filed by several freedom fighters challenging the legality of the circulars and gazette notifications.

Citing the example of one of the writ petitioners Bir Protik Shahidul Islam Lalu, his lawyer Omar Sadat said Lalu fought in the Liberation War at the age of 10 and was awarded Bir Protik by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The government has so far changed the definition of freedom fighters 10 times and their list six times since the country’s independence. A scrutiny of the war heroes’ list is currently underway.

The ministry of liberation war affairs issued a circular and gazette notification in November 2016 imposing the minimum age of freedom fighters at 13 on March 26, 1971.

Delivering the verdict yesterday, the HC said the definition of the freedom fighters was determined by the President’s Order 94 of 1972. It can be changed only by the parliament, not by a circular or gazette.

The President’s Order 94 of 1972 does not allow the government to fix or re-fix the age of the freedom fighters, the HC said.

Selina Akhter Chowdhury, Omar Sadat, ABM Altaf Hossain, Eunus Ali Akond, Ayesha Akhter, ARM Kamruzzaman Kakan and Shuvrajit Banerjee and several other lawyers appeared for the writ peti-tioners, while Deputy Attorney General Mokhlesur Rahman represented the state.

After the HC delivered the verdict, Omar Sadat told reporters, “We placed all the laws before the court and the court delivered the verdict scrutinising everything. The constitution and Banga-bandhu’s speeches said he [Bangabandhu] summoned everyone to take part in the Liberation War regardless of their age, religion and caste. There was no provision of age there.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The High Court yesterday declared illegal the government circulars and gazette notifications fixing the minimum age of freedom fighters at 12 and a half years in 1971.

The circulars and gazette notifications and the section concerned of the Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust law regarding the freedom fighters’ age are illegal and contradictory to the constitution, the court said.

According to a gazette notification issued on January 17 last year by the Liberation War Affairs ministry, people who were aged at least 12 and a half on November 30, 1971 would be eligible to apply for the status of a freedom fighter.

The court also directed the government to give honorariums in 60 days to freedom fighters, who were not paid their allowances due to the age row. The 60 days will be counted from the day of re-ceiving the copy of the verdict by the authorities concerned, the HC said.

The HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil came up with the verdict after hearing 15 separate writ petitions filed by several freedom fighters challenging the legality of the circulars and gazette notifications.

Citing the example of one of the writ petitioners Bir Protik Shahidul Islam Lalu, his lawyer Omar Sadat said Lalu fought in the Liberation War at the age of 10 and was awarded Bir Protik by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The government has so far changed the definition of freedom fighters 10 times and their list six times since the country’s independence. A scrutiny of the war heroes’ list is currently underway.

The ministry of liberation war affairs issued a circular and gazette notification in November 2016 imposing the minimum age of freedom fighters at 13 on March 26, 1971.

Delivering the verdict yesterday, the HC said the definition of the freedom fighters was determined by the President’s Order 94 of 1972. It can be changed only by the parliament, not by a circular or gazette.

The President’s Order 94 of 1972 does not allow the government to fix or re-fix the age of the freedom fighters, the HC said.

Selina Akhter Chowdhury, Omar Sadat, ABM Altaf Hossain, Eunus Ali Akond, Ayesha Akhter, ARM Kamruzzaman Kakan and Shuvrajit Banerjee and several other lawyers appeared for the writ peti-tioners, while Deputy Attorney General Mokhlesur Rahman represented the state.

After the HC delivered the verdict, Omar Sadat told reporters, “We placed all the laws before the court and the court delivered the verdict scrutinising everything. The constitution and Banga-bandhu’s speeches said he [Bangabandhu] summoned everyone to take part in the Liberation War regardless of their age, religion and caste. There was no provision of age there.”

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