Age is not a factor to be eligible as freedom fighters, said the court in its observation
The High Court has declared illegal the Liberation War Affairs Ministry’s gazette notification setting the minimum age for being recognized as a freedom fighter.
The bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil passed the order on Sunday, following 15 writ petitions filed in this regard.
Barrister Omar Sadat, Advocates ABM Altaf Hossain, Ayesha Akter, Selina Akter and others stood for the writs, while Deputy Attorney General Moklesur Rahman represented the state.
In its observation, the court said: “No country in the world has set an age limit to determine its freedom fighters because liberation wars are fought with passion and patriotism. Age is not a factor in deciding the eligibility to be freedom fighters.”
Citing examples from World War II, the court also said: “Children hardly aged seven or eight took part in that global war. Even in Bangladesh, we have books and movies about courageous acts of child freedom fighters in our Liberation War. That is why freedom fighters cannot be recognized based on age.”
Earlier on November 10, 2016, the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs published another gazette determining the minimum age of a freedom fighters has to be 13 years as of March 26 of 1971.
Later on January 31 last year, Liberation War Affairs Ministry amended the gazette notification fixing the minimum age at 12 years and six months to be eligible for earning the status of a freedom fighter.
According to that order, people who were aged at least 12 and a half as of November 30, 1971, will be eligible for applying for the status.
Director of Geological Survey of Bangladesh, Mahmud Hasan, then filed a writ, challenging the amended gazette notification.
Another petition was then also filed with the High Court in this regard.
Upon hearing the petition, the High Court issued a ruling asking the concerned authorities to explain why the amended gazette notification shall not be declared illegal.
The court had asked Liberation War Affairs ministry, its secretary, joint secretary, Power and Energy secretary, Finance secretary, Jatiya Muktijoddha Command Council director general and director general of Department of Geological Survey to respond.
Now the same order will applicable for all of the petition filed in this regard, petitioners’ lawyer confirmed.