Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said that BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, who was convicted and sentenced in two corruption cases, cannot contest the election even if she is relieved through appeal.
Khaleda will have to wait for five years after her release, said the AG at a press conference at his office.He said that advocate Fakhrul Islam, Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan, Moshiur Rahman, Md Abudl Wahab and Dr AZM Zahad, who secured bail, filed separate petitions seeking a stay on their sentence in graft cases so that they can contest the election.
“I said in the hearing that – criminal court, especially the Criminal Appeal Court, can stay their sentence. But, there’ll be no stay on their conviction, especially according to 2(Gha) of section 66 of our constitution. “A person shall be disqualified for election as, or for being, a member of Parliament who-has been, on conviction for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release.”
Mahbubey Alam said those who appealed they all are convicted and they are yet to be relived from their sentence, and five years have not yet passed after their sentence.He said if they are allowed to contest the election in this situation, it will be contradictory to the Constitution.
Responding to a question whether this is applicable for Khaleda Zia too, he said, “Of course. It’s a constitutional rule.”In reply to another question whether the Appellate Division can stay sentence, he said, “I cannot say what the Appellate Division will do. My submission is above the constitution.”
About court orders that stayed sentences of Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad, Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Mahbubey Alam, he said, “There was a Supreme Court order on Ershad. I couldn’t say whether there was the same submission for Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya. I don’t know why the hearing was not held in this way.”
The High Court on Tuesday said those who have been sentenced to over two years’ jail by a lower court in any graft case with appeal pending will not be allowed to contest elections.On Monday, five BNP leaders — Amanullah Aman, Dr AZM Zahid, Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan, Abdul Wahab and Mashiur Rahman — filed separate petitions under section 426 of criminal offence with the High Court seeking stay orders on the lower court verdicts in the graft cases filed against them.