Khaleda's plea sent to regular HC Bench
Staff Reporter :
A vacation Bench of the High Court (HC) on Tuesday sent to the regular Bench a writ petition filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia challenging the legality of the government notification that said the Niko case trial against her will be held at a special court in Keraniganj Central Jail.
The Bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Md Khairul Alam asked the office concerned to place the writ petition before the regular Bench of the HC for its hearing after reopeningÂ of the court following its ongoing vacation.
The court will reopen on June 16.
The HC Bench passed the order after Khaleda Zia's lawyer A J Mohammad Ali requested the court to send the petition to the regular Bench saying that they will place more arguments on the matter.
Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told reporters that there is no legal bar for the special court in Keraniganj Central Jail to proceed with the trial proceedings of the Niko case as the HC did not pass any stay order on the government notification.
The trial court is scheduled to hold a hearing of the Niko case on June 23, the ACC lawyer said.
Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Advocate A J Mohammad Ali, Barrister Ruhul Quddus Kaza, Barrister Mir Helal Uddin and Barrister A K M Ehsanur Rahman appeared for Khaleda Zia, while Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan stood for the ACC and Additional Attorney General Murad Reza argued for the state.
On May 12, the Law Ministry issued the gazette notification, saying that trials of 17 criminal cases, including the Niko, against Khaleda would be held at a special court set up at building-2 of Keraniganj Central Jail for security reasons.
On May 26, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the legality of the government notification, which says Niko case trial against her will be held at a special court inside Keraniganj Central Jail instead of a Dhaka court.
Citing the petition, Barrister Kayser Kamal, a lawyer for Khaleda Zia, told reporters that the gazette notification issued by the Law Ministry transferring the court for holding trial of Niko case is contradictory to the relevant provision of the Constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
The trial in the Niko graft case was being held at a special court set up inside the Old Dhaka Central Jail and the trials of the 16 other cases were taking place at a makeshift court at the Government Alia Madrasa in the capital's Bakshibazar.
Khaleda Zia landed in jail on February 8 last year after a Dhaka court sentenced her to five years imprisonment in Zia Orphanage Trust case. The High Court on October 30 last year enhanced the punishment of Khaleda to 10 years imprisonment in this case.
Besides, a Dhaka court on October 29 last year convicted Khaleda Zia and sentenced her to seven years' imprisonment in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.