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High Court declares gazettes on minimum age of FFs illegal
Liberation war - FFs

High Court declares gazettes on minimum age of FFs illegal

Dhaka, May 19 – In a major development, the High Court (HC) on Sunday in a verdict declared illegal the three gazette notifications and circular determining the minimum age of the freedom fighters.
The HC bench also directed the government to give all due honorarium within 60 days to the freedom fighters who were deprived due to the circular.
The government in 2014 issued a circular fixing the minimum age of a freedom fighter 13 years as of March 26, 1971.
Later on, in January last year, the government amended the gazette notification re-fixing the minimum age of the freedom fighter as 12 years and six months as of November 30, 1971.
After concluding final hearing on 15 separate writ petitions over the matter, the HC bench comprising Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Rajik-Al Jalil delivered the verdict.
At about 150 freedom fighters jointly filed 15 separate writ petitions challenging the legality of the gazette notification determining the minimum age of freedom fighters.
In its verdict, the HC bench observed that the government has no authority to issue any circular or gazette notifications fixing the age of freedom fighters.
The freedom fighters and non-freedom fighters will specify through the historical documents. The freedom fighters should not specify by age as the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his historical speech did not limit the age of freedom fighter. The constitution has not specified the age of freedom fighters. Hence, the government has no authority to limit the age of freedom fighters, the HC observed.
After the HC order, Barrister Omar Sadat, one of the counsels for the petitioners, told reporters that the HC delivered the historic verdict after scrutinizing all documents regarding the freedom fighters of the country.
There was no specific age for freedom fighters in the historic speech of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as well as the constitution of the country. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman requested all people of the country to free the country and their lives from Pakistan, Barrister Omar said.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman awarded Shahidul Islam Lalu, as ‘Bir Pratik’ for his contribution in the country’s Liberation War. His age was only 10 years during the Liberation War in 1971. Following the
government gazette notification Lalu will not consider as a freedom fighter, which is very unfortunate, Omar noted.
Quoting the HC verdict, Barrister Omar said that the country established following the great sacrificed of freedom fighters. We will not able to go forward as a nation, if we will not believe on the freedom fighters. No country in the world fixed the age of freedom fighters. So, Bangladesh should not fix the age of freedom fighters, according to the HC verdict observations.
Among the petitioners, Mahmud Hasan, who is the director of the department of geological survey, said in the petition that he is a freedom fighter and he had joined the geological survey as a freedom fighter
on June 26 of 1988.
He said the gazette notifications have affected him as he was 12 years, four months and 12 days of age on November 30, 1971, adding that the gazette notifications contradict the spirit of the Liberation War.
Barrister ABM Altaf Hossain, Md Jahangir Jamddar, Nargis Tanzima, Selina Akhtar Chowdhury, Sharif Ahmed and ARM Kamruzzaman Kakon were also appeared on behalf of the petitioners while deputy attorney general Mokhlesur Rahman represented the state. – Staff Reporter

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