HC asks govt to explain
The High Court yesterday asked the government to explain in four weeks why the controversial provision of curtailing the ACC’s authority to file graft charges against government officials on its own should not be declared illegal.
The bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain came up with the rule in response to a writ petition filed by a non-government organisation challenging the legality of the provision.
The Speaker of the House, secretaries to the president, prime minister, Jatiya Sangsad, law ministry and cabinet division have been made respondents to the rule.
The government’s move to bring in this provision through the bill placed at parliament in February 2011 sparked a storm of criticism.
Different non-government organisations, civil society members, donor agencies and the country’s development partners had expressed their concerns.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith himself had opposed the provision proposed in the bill.
The ACC itself strongly opposed the provision, terming it unconstitutional.
Scrutinising the bill, the parliamentary standing committee on the law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry also recommended that the House scrap the proposed provision.
But nothing could prevent the government from introducing the provision to the benefit of the government officials.
The Jatiya Sangsad on November 10 passed a bill amending the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act, 2004 to introduce the controversial provision. The president signed the bill into the law on November 20.
During the hearing on the writ petition yesterday, Manzill Murshid, counsel of the petitioner, Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh, told the court that the provision goes against the constitution.
According to the constitution, all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to get equal protection of law, he told the court.
Deputy Attorney General Bishwojit Roy represented the government.