The High Court has cleared the way for Feni Awami League leader Nizam Uddin Hazari to continue as a lawmaker.
The court yesterday rejected a writ petition that challenged the legality of holding the MP's office by Nizam, who was elected lawmaker from Feni-2 constituency in the January 5, 2014 national polls.
The bench of Justice Md Abu Zafor Siddique rejected the writ petition on the grounds that there was a question of disputed fact regarding serving jail by Nizam in an arms case and that the writ petitioner moved the prayer out of a political rivalry with the MP, petitioner's lawyer Satya Ronjon Mondal told The Daily Star.
He, however, said his client would move an appeal before the Appellate Division of the SC challenging the HC verdict after receiving its full text.
Earlier, five HC judges felt embarrassed to hear the writ petition after a two-member HC bench on December 6, 2016, had delivered a split verdict on the prayer.
Justice Md Emdadul Huq, senior judge of the HC bench, in the judgment said Nizam can't hold the office of the parliament member as per article 66 (2)(D) of the constitution as he was convicted in an arms case.
Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan, junior judge of the same bench, said the writ petition was not acceptable as there was a question of disputed fact regarding serving jail by Nizam.
Shakhawat Hossain Bhuiyan, a Jubo League leader from Feni, had filed the petition as a public interest litigation with the HC on June 8, 2014. He prayed to the court to declare Nizam disqualified for contesting the parliamentary polls and holding the office of lawmaker because of his alleged forgery to get released from jail early in a criminal case.
Quoting a newspaper report, Shakhawat in his petition said a Chittagong court sentenced Nizam to 10 years' imprisonment in an arms case on August 16, 2000. He surrendered to the court on September 14, 2000, and was sent to Chittagong jail.
He walked free from jail on December 1, 2005, through fraudulence, the petitioner said.
Nizam was supposed to be in jail until September 13, 2010, and he, according to the law, was not supposed to be eligible to run in parliamentary polls before September 2015. The AL leader provided false information about serving his jail term to the Election Commission, he added.
Following the writ petition, the HC on the same day issued a rule, asking the government and the EC to explain why his parliament seat should not be declared vacant.
The inspector general of prisons submitted a report to the HC on July 19, 2016 saying that Nizam had been in jail around two and a half years less than he was supposed to.
During hearing on the petition, petitioner's lawyer Quamrul Haque Siddique told the HC court that Nizam cannot hold the post of a lawmaker and he would have to serve in jail if the IG prisons report was correct.
Nizam's lawyers Shafique Ahmed and Nurul Islam Sujan opposed the petition, saying that their client had served the entire term of the jail sentence and therefore, the petition was not filed in public interest.