“The ministers [Food Minister Qamrul Islam and Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq] have not lost the legality of holding offices as the Supreme Court verdict did not say anything about
it in the verdict [given on March 27].
“Even, no law, rule or convention in our country states that the ministers can lose their posts duo to violating their oaths of office,” the minister told reporters at his Secretariat office yesterday.
Anisul hosted the press conference to give clarification on several legal issues.
“The Article 66 of the Constitution has clarified the disqualification of a lawmaker; the ministers are not under this disqualification,” he said.
The eight-member full bench of the Appellate Division on March 27 fined the ministers Tk50,000 each for making controversial statements, during a discussion on March 5, about the chief justice and the judiciary in connection with the war crimes appeals case of executed Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali.
On that day, the court also rejected the unconditional apology offered by the ministers on March 14.
On March 5, the ministers at a roundtable criticised Chief Justice SK Sinha as he lambasted the prosecution and the investigation agency of the International Crimes Tribunal for their inefficiency in dealing with the case.
Qamrul demanded formation of a new bench to rehear the case, excluding the chief justice, alleging that Justice SK Sinha was talking like a defender of the war criminals. He expressed doubt that Quasem would be handed down death penalty. He also wanted the attorney general out of the hearing.
Echoing Qamrul, Mozammel said that the chief justice should not be delivering the verdict in the case. Other speakers at the discussion too criticised the chief justice.
On March 8, before delivering the judgement in Quasem’s case that upheld his death penalty, the court issued a contempt rule against the ministers and summoned them on March 15. The prime minister too said that her government would not own the comments of the two ministers.
In the full verdict published on September 1, the court said that the ministers had acted in violation of the law and are in breach of their oaths of office to preserve, protect and defend the constitution.
“In their exuberance, they have undermined the sanctity of the institution of the judiciary by questioning the justice delivery system,” said majority of the bench. The judgement said that the two ministers had scandalised the Supreme Court in a highly motivated manner in order to influence the judgement of the court. “This is gross criminal contempt and a violation of the provisions of the constitution.”
On Monday, Supreme Court lawyer Yunus Ali Akond challenged the legality of Qamrul and Mozammel holding
office or sitting in parliament following the Appellate Division’s observation that the duo had violated their oaths of
Citing the apex court’s judgement, the petitioner said that under the Public Servants (dismissal on conviction) Ordinance 1985, a government service holder will be dismissed if s/he is fined with Tk1,000 or more.
The BNP too has demanded that the ministers resign immediately.