Justice Md Nuruzzaman, the Chamber Judge yesterday sent the government petition to the full bench of the Appellate Division for its hearing on June 23
The gazette notifications on fixing the minimum age of Freedom Fighters remain illegal as the Chamber Judge of the Appellate Division did not pass any order on a petition filed by the government seeking stay on the HC judgment.
Justice Md Nuruzzaman, the Chamber Judge on Wednesday sent the government petition to the full bench of the Appellate Division for its hearing on June 23.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam appeared for the government while Barrister ABM Altaf Hossain argued for the writ petitioner.
On May 19, the High Court declared illegal the Liberation War Affairs Ministry’s gazette notification setting a minimum age for being recognized as a freedom fighter.
The bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil passed the order, following 15 writ petitions filed in this regard.
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 a freedom fighter.”
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 the age.”
Earlier on November 10, 2016, the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs published another gazette determining that the minimum age of freedom fighters had to be 13 years as of March 26 of 1971.
Later on January 31 last year, the 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 years, as of November 30, 1971, would be eligible for applying for the status.
Director of Geological Survey of Bangladesh, Mahmud Hasan, then filed a writ challenging the amended gazette notification.
At the same time, another petition was 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 the Department of Geological Survey to respond.
Now the same order will be applicable for all the petitions filed in this regard, petitioners’ lawyer confirmed.