The High Court today stayed for six months the government decision that cancelled the freedom fighter status of 192 retired members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Bangladesh Air Force (BAF), and also directed the government to give them benefits as freedom fighters.
The court also issued five separate rules asking the respondents to explain in four weeks why the decision of scrapping the freedom fighter status of the 192 retired BGB and BAF personnel should not be declared illegal.
Secretary to the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs and director generals of Jatiya Muktijoddha Council and Directorate of Social Service have been made respondents to the rules.
The HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam came up with the directives and rules following five separate writ petitions filed by the 191 retired BGB personnel and one retired BAF member challenging the legality of the government decision.
Writ petitioners' lawyer Abdul Qaium told The Daily Star that the HC stayed the government orders cancelling the freedom fighter status of his clients as the government took the decision without giving them any scope for defending themselves.
They had been included in the gazette notifications of the list of freedom fighters after scrutinising their relevant documents and papers, the lawyer added.
On June 7 this year, the Liberation War Affairs ministry issued two separate gazette notification cancelling freedom fighter status of 1,134 retired BGB personnel and 47 retired BAF personnel, including the 192 writ petitioners, on charge of obtaining the status by placing forged documents.
The move was reportedly taken following Jatiya Muktijoddha Council's 66th meeting held on December 10 last year.