Dhaka – The High Court on Monday rejected a writ petition challenging the legality of Islam’s state religion status in the constitution.
An HC bench, headed by Justice Naima Haider, passed the order when the writ was placed before it for hearing after 28 years of its filing, the UNB news agency reported.
However, the court said the organisation which had filed the writ petition has no ‘locus standi’.
The other members of the HC bench are Justice Quazi Reza-ul-Hoque and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal.
Advocate Subrata Chowdhury stood for the petitioners while Additional Attorney General Murad Reza represented the state.
After long 28 years, the writ petition was included in the cause-list of the HC for hearing on February 29 this year.
The HC fixed March 27 for hearing the writ petition which was deferred to March 28.
Islam had been given the status of state religion through the constitution’s 8th amendment during military ruler HM Ershad’s regime in 1988.
Fifteen distinguished citizens, led by former Chief Justice Kamaluddin Hossain, formed an organisation ‘Autocrat and Communalism Prevention Committee’ had filed the writ petition with the HC in 1988 challenging the amendment that gave “Islam” the status of state religion.
Begum Sufia Kamal, former chief justice Kemal Uddin Hossain, Khan Sarwar Murshid, Prof Kabir Chowdhury, Prof Dr Mosharraf Hossain were also among the petitioners.
Hearing the petition, the High Court issued a rule at that time.
On June 30, 2011, parliament passed a bill on the constitution’s 15th amendment retaining Islam’s status as a state religion.
Noted journalist Fayez Ahmed filed a supplementary petition against retaining Islam’s state religion status in the constitution.
Following the petition, the High Court on December 1, 2011 issued a rule asking the government why the petition filed against Islam should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional.