Presiding judge of a two-member bench Justice Md Emdadul Huq declared that the lawmaker of Feni 2 constituency is disqualified to hold his position as a parliament member, as per the constitution.
Describing the qualifications and disqualifications for election to parliament, the constitution in section 66(2) says that a person shall be disqualified for election if s/he 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/her release.
On the other hand, the junior judge of the bench, Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan, rejected the writ petition declaring Nizam’s parliament membership legal. He discharged a previous rule that questioned the legality of his membership.
After the verdict, Nizam’s lawyer Shafique Ahmed, a former law minister, told reporters that according to the law, now the petition and the split verdict would be sent to the chief justice. The chief justice would assign a single bench to dispose of the matter.
Attaching a news report, Feni Jubo League leader Shakhawat Hossain Bhuiyan filed the writ petition on June 8, 2014 praying to the court to declare Nizam disqualified for contesting in the parliamentary polls and holding the office as a lawmaker for his alleged forgery in getting early release from jail in an arms case.
He said that a Chittagong court on August 16, 2000 had sentenced Nizam to 10 years’ imprisonment. Although he appealed against the verdict with the High Court and the Appellate Division, the petitions were dismissed. Even his review petition was also rejected.
Upon his surrender to the lower court, Nizam was sent to jail on September 14, 2000 but he got released from the jail on December 1, 2005 through fraudulence, instead of serving the whole term. Nizam was supposed to serve in jail till September 13, 2010.
The petition said that according to constitution he was supposed to be qualified for contesting the parliamentary election after next five years, counting from September 13, 2010.
Though, the general secretary of AL’s Feni district unit Nizam Hazari could legally vie for the post after September 2015, he contested in the national polls in 2014.
The petition claimed that the lawmaker provided false information about his serving jail sentence to the EC for contesting the polls.
Holding a primary hearing on the petition, the High Court bench of Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar issued a rule upon the government, the Election Commission and Nizam to explain in four weeks the constituency seat will not be declared vacant.
It had asked inspector general of prisons and the superintendent of Chittagong jail to submit a report before it on the tenure of serving jail sentence by Nizam in the arms case.
A justice of a two-member High Court bench in November last year and another bench in December felt embarrassed to hear the rule. The chief justice then sent the matter for disposal to the bench led by Justice Md Emdadul Huq. Finally the hearing started on January 19.
On March 30, the court asked for information about the lawmaker’s time spent in jail and about the remission period of the jail term. The court also sought case dockets of the arms case.
On May 26, the court in a fresh order asked IG of prisons to conduct an inquiry and submit report before it about the lawmaker’s serving time and remission.
The jail authorities informed the court that along with 625 days’ remission, Nizam Hazari served seven years five months and 14 days in jail. He is yet to serve two years six months and 16 days.
In August, the court deferred verdict announcement two times and his lawyers told the court that Nizam had donated blood 13 times during his jail term and was supposed to get 486 more days of remission. The court then asked the jail authorities to submit a report on his blood donation.
The Chittagong jail authorities in November replied that they had preserved no record of his claimed blood donation. The verdict delivery was deferred for the fourth time on November 22 as the court had asked for explanation on two related laws from the lawyers.
On December 1, the court kept yesterday to deliver the verdict.