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HC rejects writ on state religion

  • Published at 08:19 am March 28th, 2016

The High Court has rejected the writ petition that challenges the constitutional provision recognising Islam as the state religion of Bangladesh.

The bench of Justice Naima Haider, Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque, and Justice Ashraful Kamal passed the order on Monday afternoon.

In its order, the High Court said the petitioners do not have the right to file the writ petition.

After the passage of the Eighth Amendment Bill on June 7, 1988, 15 noted personalities filed a public interest litigation challenging the state religion provision.

They are Begum Sufia Kamal, former chief justice Kemal Uddin Hossain, Khan Sarwar Murshid, Prof Kabir Chowdhury, Prof Mosharraf Hossain, Maj Gen (retd) Chitta Ranjan Datta (Bir Uttam), Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury, Badruddin Umar, journalist Foyez Ahmed, Borhan Uddin Khan Jahangir, Prof Anisuzzaman, Justice Devesh Chandra Bhattacharjee, Justice KM Sobhan, Syed Istiaq Ahmed and Kalim Sharafi. Many of them have since passed away. 

The matter was absent from the discussion table until August 1 last year when Supreme Court lawyer Somendra Nath Goswami filed another petition with the High Court challenging the state religion provision as it was against the basic secular structure of the state.

He also sought justification of retaining the clause even though the government had restored secularism through the 15th Amendment to the Constitution in 2011. The petition was heard on August 30 and rejected by the court on September 7 last year.

On February 29, Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha formed a new three-member bench to hear the 1988 petition following a prayer submitted on behalf of the petitioners.