The senior judge of a two-member High Court bench today ruled in favor of BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s participation in the upcoming elections while the junior judge disagreed with him. Following the dissenting order on three writ petitions filed by Khaleda, the High Court judges will now send all the three appeals and the judges’ orders to the chief justice who will assign another High Court bench for final hearing and disposal of the petitions.
Khaleda filed the writ petitions challenging the Election Commission’s decisions upholding the returning officers’ cancellation of her all three nomination papers Bogura-6, 7 and Feni-1.
Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed, the senior judge of the bench, directed the EC to accept the nomination papers of Khaleda and allow her to contest the December 30 general elections.
The judge also issued a rule asking the EC to explain why its decision on the nomination papers of Khaleda Zia should not be declared illegal.
Meanwhile, Justice Md Iqbal Kabir, the junior judge of the bench, disagreed with the senior judges’ order.
When did Khaleda Zia file the petitions?
Khaleda, a former prime minister, on December 9 filed the three separate writ petitions also seeking HC directives on the EC to accept the nomination papers so that she can run from Bogura-6, 7 and Feni-1.
In the petitions, she also prayed to the HC to issue a rule asking the EC why its decisions on her nomination papers should not be declared illegal, Barrister Kayser Kamal, a lawyer for Khaleda, told The Daily Star earlier.
The EC rejected Khaleda’s appeals on the grounds of violating the electoral code of conduct but the question of Khaleda violating the code does not arise as she has been in jail since February, Kayser pointed out.
When was Khaleda sent to jail?
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, Khaleda was convicted and sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment by the same court in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.