Ban on Ahmadiya publications: HC issues Rule on Government
By Special Correspondent
Dec 21, 2004, 21:57
Justice ABM Khairul Huq of the Vacation Bench of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court yesterday stayed the order of the Government banning some publications of the Ahmadiya Muslim Jamat, Bangladesh ( AMJB) till the Court re-opens on January 2, 2005 after winter holidays.
The Judge also restrained the Government from publishing the Gazette of the ban till that date.
In the face of movement to declare Kadiyanis of Ahmadiya Jamat, as non-Muslims initiated by Anti-Ahmadiya zealots, the Government banned 20 publications ( 10 books and 10 pamphlets) on January 8 last.
Challenging the ban, one AK Rezaul Karim, a member of AMJB and six social organisations ; Adhikar, Sammilita Shamnajik Jote, Ain-o-Salish Kendra, Karmajibi Nari, Jatiya Ainjibi Parisad and another filed a writ petition questioning the order as ultra vires of the Constitution.
The Court passed the order after issuing Rule upon the Government to show cause as to why the order of forfeiture of the Ahmadiya books should not be declared illegal.
The Rule was issued upon the Secretary and the Senior Assistant Secretary of the Home Ministry, the Inspector General of Police and the Deputy Controller of the Bangladesh Government Press.
Dr. Kamal Husain filed the petition on Sunday on behalf of the petitioners. He also placed his arguments before the Vacation Bench.
A Deputy Attorney-General sought time from the Court on the ground that the Attorney-General would appear and place his submissions in the matter on behalf of the Government.
The Court then adjourned the hearing till yesterday but took an undertaking that the Government would not publish any Gazette notification on the forfeiture till yesterday. The Attorney gave verbal assurance to the Court.
Yesterday, when the matter was taken up for hearing, the Attorney-General did not turn up. A Senior lawyer ABM Nurul Islam, appearing, on behalf of the respondents, placed two submissions before the Court.
He said that the matter was of a great public importance and, therefore, be referred to the Chief Justice to constitute a larger Bench with no less than three Judges to hear the matter.
At this the Judge told him that he could make this submission before the Division Bench that would hear the case after the vacation.
The Advocate urged upon the Court not to issue any “ stay “ in the matter till it was heard after the vacation by a regular Bench. He argued, if the petitioners did not come up with the writ petition after the impugned order was passed January 8 last why not they wait 10 more days.
Dr. Kamal Husain immediately retorted, “If after passing the order banning the books in January last, you took time till today and did not publish the gazette on the impugned order… why not you wait till January 2, 2005 till the regular Bench hears the matter ? ”.
The Court then issued the Rule and passed the ‘ stay ’ order.
Dr. Kamal Husain and Dr. Zahir with Tanjibul Alam appeared for the petitioners. Deputy Attorney-General Helaluddin Mollah, Assistant Attorney General Giasuddin Mithu and Mohammad Abul Baset stood for the State.