Wednesday, January 24, 2018 | ePaper

Full verdict awaits release

Heirs are in confusion

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Gulam Rabbani :
The High Court (HC) ruled in a judgement that after the death of a person, the money deposited in his/her accounts would go to their heirs instead of nominees about two years ago. But the sufferers are not getting the benefit of the judgement as the certified copy does not come out yet.
In the mean time the Bangladesh Bank (BB) issued a circular directing all financial institutions to pay deposited money to the nominee or nominees after the death of a single or joint account holders.
According to the circular, the deposited money could be paid to a single or multiple nominees mentioned in the account after the demise of the depositor or depositors. It also said the depositors could choose new nominees in place of the old ones at any time.
Later, the BB issued more circular on the issue citing same statement which have thrown the sufferers in a confusing situation.
Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, said, "It was an important judgement. The judgement has been given against the traditional rule. As per rule, a nominee will receive the money after the death of an account holder. It is a fundamental right of an account holder to select nominee. So, the full judgement should come out as soon as possible. Then we will see what is really in the judgement."
On April 3, 2016, the High Court ruled that after the death of a person, the money deposited in his/her accounts would go to their heirs instead of nominees. After making a rule absolute, the HC bench comprising Justice Naima Haider and Justice Khizir Ahmed   Choudhury said that as per the law the nominee is a trustee and agent only. The deposited money of the dead people will have to be divided among the heirs as per the Mohammedan Law, the court added.
After the verdict, Senior Supreme Court lawyer Advocate M I Farooqui, counsel for the petitioners, told the journalists that the nominees were not owners of the deposited money at all. The deposited money has to be divided among the heirs as per provision of the Mohammedan law, he added.
Farooqui said that former Deputy Director of the Bangladesh Bank Shohidul Haque kept Tk 30 lakh in his account. But, after his death, his second wife Bilkis Ara Bequm, who is the nominee of the account, claimed the money and tried to withdraw it from the account. But three heirs of Shohidul Haque namely Munjurul Hoque and his two sisters Zamila Sultana and Zakia Sultana, all of them successors of Shohidul's first family, filed a case with the trial court seeking their portion from the deposited money, claming that they are the legal successors of Shohidul Haque. The trial court, on September 3 in 2014, rejected their petition and said that the nominee would withdraw the money from the account.
Later, the trio filed miss appeal with the Dhaka's Additional District Judges Court against the Joint District Court order. The additional district judge court, on March 3 in 2015, rejected the miss appeal upholding the Joint District Judge Court order.  Later, the trio moved with the High Court by filing a civil revision against the trial court order in June last year.
In response to the civil revision, the HC on June 15 last year issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain as to why the trial court order rejecting the petition of successors should not be set aside. After a hearing on the rule, the HC bench gave the verdict, paving way for the successors to become the legal owners of the deposited money of their predecessor.
Though the High Court delivered the verdict one year and nine months ago, the certified copy of the verdict does not come out yet. Advocate Sadekur Rahman, one of the counselors of the case, on Saturday told The New Nation that they have not received yet the certified copy of the case.
 "It is not possible for someone to claim the judgement's result without receiving the certified copy," added Sadekur.
In the same day of delivering judgement of nominee case, the Supreme Court (SC) had ruled that its judges must sign the judgments or orders in normal cases promptly and within six months of delivering them in exceptional cases.
 "A judge should dispose of promptly the business of the court, including avoiding inordinate delay in delivering judgments/orders … a judgment shall be signed not later than six months of the date of delivery of judgment in exceptional cases," the SC observed in a judgement.
Sources said, sufferers like the petitioners are also deprived from the result of the judgement as the certified copy is not coming out.
Most of these cases originated from second marriages of the account holders, specially freedom fighters. Sharmin Shahida, a victim of the situation said that her Freedom Fighter father, also Sonali Bank Employee married for second time only six month before retirement. And he nominated his second wife for the deposited money by depriving his first wife and her children.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Bank (BB) issued a circular on April 19, in 2017 directing all financial institutions to pay deposited money to the nominee or nominees after the death of a single or joint account holders.

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