Friday, September 20, 2019 | ePaper

HC scraps age limit for FFs' eligibility

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Staff Reporter :
The High Court (HC) on Sunday declared "illegal" all the gazette notifications and circulars determining the minimum age of the Freedom Fighters.
The HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al Jalil delivered the verdict after hearing 15 separate writ petitions filed by about 150 Freedom Fighters challenging the legality of the gazette notifications.
At the same time, the High Court declared unconstitutional provision of age limit by the government according to the Section 2(11) of the Freedom Fighter Welfare Trust Act, 2018. The government in November, 2016, issued a circular fixing the minimum age of a Freedom Fighter 13 years as of March 26, 1971.
Later on, in January last year, the government amended the gazette notification re-fixing the minimum age of the freedom fighter as 12 years and six months as of November 30, 1971.
The HC yesterday scrapped the gazette notifications saying that the government has no authority to issue any circular or gazette notification fixing the age of Freedom Fighters.
The court also directed the government to give all due honourium within 60 days to the Freedom Fighters who were deprived due to the circular. One of the writ petitioners Mahmud Hasan, Director of Department of Geological Survey, said in the petition that he is a Freedom Fighter and he had joined the Geological Survey as a Freedom Fighter on June 26 of 1988.
He said, the gazette notifications have affected him as he was 12 years, four months and 12 days of age on November 30, 1971 adding that the gazette notifications contradict the spirit of the Liberation War.
Advocate M Altaf Hossain, Advocate Omar Sadat, Advocate Eunus Ali Akond, Advocate Md Jahangir Jamaddar, Advocate Nargis Tanjima, Advocate Selina Akhter Chowdhury, Advocate Sharif Ahmed, Advocate Shuvrojit Banerjee and Advocate A R M Kamruzzaman Kakon appeared in the court on behalf of the writ petitioners.
After the court order, Advocate Omar Sadat said, "Without issuing any show-cause notice the government suddenly stopped the honorium of the Freedom Fighters saying that the people, who were under 12 years and six months as of November 30, 1971, will not be considered as Freedom Fighters no more. But, they were identified as Freedom Fighters and they were getting honorium before re-fixing the minimum age."
In the observations, the court said, "In other countries, the Freedom Fighters are not tied with the age limit. People join in the liberation war from their passion and patriotism. People of all ages, religions, castes, join in the great liberation war of 1971. As a result, age is not a factor to be a Freedom Fighter."

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