After the Awami League dropped Latif Siddique from the cabinet and the party primary membership it is now contemplating how to strip him of the parliament membership.
The party is searching for a legal ground to remove him from parliament, said a number of Awami League central leaders.
Article 70(1) of the constitution says an MP will lose his seat if s/he resigns or votes against his or her party.
Several Awami League leaders said Latif’s comments on Hajj and Tabligh Jamaat had infuriated party Chief Sheikh Hasina so much so that she does not want to see him any more in parliament.
Sources in the ruling party said the parliament secretariat was working on the issue but it is yet to find any legal ground on the basis of which Latif can be stripped of his parliament membership.
A source in the parliament secretariat said it might not be possible to vacant the seat of Latif.
Referring to previous records a parliament official said if someone is expelled from his/her party he/she will not lose his/her parliament membership.
BNP lawmaker Abu Hena in the 8th parliament, Jatiya Party lawmaker Golam Reza in the 9th parliament and Jatiya Party’s Anwar Hossain Manju in the 7th parliament were expelled from their parties but they did not lose their JS memberships and performed as independent lawmakers, said.
However, Chief Whip ASM Feroz have recently told the media that the matter would be resolved after Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury’s return from abroad who is scheduled to come back on Sept 21 after a visit to India.
Although ASM Feroz claimed that Latif Siddique could keep his membership as he had not crossed the floor as the constitution does not categorically said what about happens to the fate of a lawmakers if he/she is expelled from the party.
The speaker would decide on the matter if there was controversy over his membership in parliament, he added.
When asked if legal experts will be consulted on the matter, he said: “The speaker can do that if necessary.”
Awami League Advisory committee member Suranjit Sengupta said if party cancels his primary membership he would not lose his JS membership rather he would be treated as an independent lawmaker.
When asked about party General Secretary Syed Ashraful’s statement that Latif Siddique would not able to keep his parliament membership after his party primary membership was gone, Suranjit said: “I have said what constitutional law says and Ashraful’s remark is his party stand.”
Narrating the party stand on Latif Siddique Awami League Law Affairs Secretary Abdul Matin Khasru MP said they did not want to see the man under question in any state or party position as did their party chief who cleared her stance at the AL central working committee meeting on October 12.
“The party want to remove him from parliament through a legal ground and it is now looking for the way,” Former law minister Khasru told the Dhaka Tribune.
“If any further difficulty surfaces the speaker may send the matter to Election Commission and I think EC will recommended vacating the seat,” he said.
Former law minister Safique Ahmed said Latif’s seat would not fall vacant as long as he himself does not relinquish his membership.
But, he continued, it would be tough for Latif to return to the country soon following the furore his comments created and in that case automatically his seat would fall vacant if he missed 90 consecutive assembly days.
While addressing a programme in the US on September 28, Latif made derogatory remarks on Hajj, Tablighi Jamaat and the prime minister’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
The minister’s “derogatory” comments on Hajj have sparked widespread criticism both at home and abroad.
Following the issue, the government sacked the minister from the cabinet on October 12 and the same day Awami League also removed Latif from its presidium body and temporarily cancelled his primary membership.