SC stays HC order on convicted person's election

SC stays HC order on convicted person’s election

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Dhaka, 01 Dec – The chamber Court yesterday stayed for a day the High Court order that halted the conviction and sentence of BNP’s Jashore-2 nominee Sabira Sultana in a corruption case, which paved the way for her to contest the elections. The chamber judge, Justice Hasan Foez Siddiqui, came up with the stay order after hearing on an appeal filed by the state yesterday morning.
The Chamber court also sent the state petition to the full bench of the Appellate Division.
In its order, the chamber judge said, “As we had previously issued a decision on the matter, the order will be stayed until tomorrow and sent to the full court.”
A full-court hearing on the appeal will be held on Sunday, he said.
Now, a full Appellate Division bench led by the chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain will hear the appeal today morning.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, Additional Attorney General Murad Reza and Additional Attorney General Momtaz Uddin Fakir represented the state. The ACC was represented by Khurshid Alam Khan and ABM Bayezid.
Advocate AJ Mohammad Ali, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Zainul Abedin, Advocate Aminul Islam represented Jashore Jhikorgacha Upazila Chairman Sabira Sultana during the hearing.
“Unless the Appellate Division makes a different decision tomorrow, this blocks Sabira Sultana’s participation in the election,” said Mahbubey Alam. “The chamber justice’s stay will remain in effect until the Appellate Division’s decision.”
In response to a query, the chief law officer of the state said that it doesn’t just affect Sabira Sultana. Because it is a matter of constitutional law. Nobody sentenced for over two or more years in jail is allowed to contest in the election, he noted.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told reporters that it depends on Sunday’s order of the Appellate Division whether Sabira Sultana to contest the elections.
On the other hand, SCBA president Zainul Abedin later alleged that the court is not being allowed to act independently. ‘They are interfering into court’s activity in every moment and arranged sitting of the court on holiday,’ he said.
Earlier, on Thursday, an HC bench said that a convicted person could take part in polls if his/her conviction and fine were stayed by the HC.
In an order, the High Court bench of Justice Md Rais Uddin stayed the conviction and sentence of Sabira Sultana, former chairman of Jhikargachha Upazila in Jashore, clearing the way for her to contest the upcoming 11th parliamentary election.
There is no legal bar now to Sabira Sultana contesting the 11th general election following the HC order, advocate Aminul Islam, counsel for Sabira, told reporters after the order.
In response to a query, Aminul Islam said that if convicts, including BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, moved petitions before the HC, seeking a stay on their convictions and jail sentences, and if their appeals against their convictions were pending, they might get redress in line with the HC order, making them eligible to contest.
On Tuesday, another HC verdict had said that those sentenced to over two years in jail by a lower court in any graft case, with an appeal pending, would not be allowed to contest the general election. It had also said they would be able to take part in the polls if the Appellate Division stayed the conviction or granted bail to the convicts. On Wednesday, the Appellate Division upheld the observation.
The Anti-Corruption Commission on January 9, 2011, filed the graft case against Sabira.
On July 12 last, the Special Judge Court-7 awarded six-year imprisonment to Sabira Sultana, former chairman of Jhikargachha Upazila Parishad, and fined her Tk 5,000 in the case filed for amassing wealth illegally. – Staff Reporter

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