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Writ challenging RPO 19 rejected

Nothing wrong with unopposed MP poll : HC

By Special Correspondent
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The High Court on Thursday dismissed the writ petition challenging the legality of Section 19 of the Representation of the Peoples Order (RPO) 1972 under which 154 Members of the present Parliament were elected uncontested."With the High Court discharging the writ petition, all questions challenging the legitimacy of January 5 general elections and formation of the present Parliament are resolved," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters immediately after the judgment was delivered by a High Court Division Bench of the Supreme Court yesterday afternoon. The two-member Bench comprising Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Muhammad Khorshid Alam Sarker also refused to entertain the petitioner's request to give a certified copy of the judgment  so that he (petitioner) could appeal to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.The presiding judge, Justice Mirza Hussain Haider, readout the judgment in the Court over-flooded by lawyers, political activists and reporters, while disposing of two writ-petitions together and also rules issued earlier."Repealing or bringing about amendment to any Section or the whole Representation of the Peoples Order (RPO) 1972 is the sole business of Legislature (Parliament). So, the judiciary cannot dictate Parliament to do or undo any of its jurisdictions," the learned Justice said, adding that the Section 19 of the RPO is not contradictory to the Constitution of the Republic."The Judiciary can ask the government not to make such law or provision as contradicts the Constitution, as per the judgment of the Majder Hossain case," he said.Discharging the other writ petition that sought a rule from the court to include the provision of "No vote" in the RPO, so that voters could express no-confidence in all the candidates of his/ her constituency, the learned Judge said, "The Court does not consider the absence of casting the 'no-vote' in the election a constitutional derailment. And inclusion of 'no-vote'  provision in the RPO is also under the jurisdictions of Parliament and the judiciary has nothing to do with it."Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, who defended the state and thereby Parliament and the Election Commission as well, termed the judgment 'historic', saying, "Two important constitutional questions have been resolved through this judgment i.e. the legitimacy of the January 5 (2014) General election and the election of 154 Members of Parliament (MPs)."Replying to a question, the Attorney General opined that the High Court has indirectly recognized legitimacy of January 5 General election and present Parliament."The democracy is saved through this judgment," Mahbubey Alam said, adding that the January 5 General election had no alternative for the constitutional continuity and continuity of the democratic system,""Those, who opposed the holding of the January 5 General election, wanted to create a constitutional vacuum in the country with a view to paving the way for unconstitutional takeover of power," he said and then quickly added, " We had experienced such unconstitutional takeover in the past."  Barrister Redwan Ahmed, who moved the writ petition on behalf of the petitioner, seeking an order declaring election of 154 MPs null and void, told reporters that the Court dismissed his petition. "We did not get scope to go to appeal to the Supreme Court as the High Court refused to entertain my petition to have a certified copy of the judgment."Earlier, the High Court bench hold a series of hearings, where eight emicus-curae or 'friends of the court', including Dr Kamal Hossain, Barrister Rafiqul Huq, Barrister Rokon Uddin Mahmud, Advocate Mahmudul Islam, AFM Hassan Arif and Sujon Secretary Dr Badiuzzaman made their submissions.        Earlier in February this year, the High Court issued a rule on why Section 19 should not be declared illegal.The Cabinet Secretary, Law Secretary, Chief Election Commissioner and Secretary to the Election Commission Secretariat were asked to reply to the rule in 10 days.

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