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Legal complication over election

SCBA now runs without executive committee

Published : 17 Apr 2022 10:42 PM | Updated : 18 Apr 2022 02:20 PM

The results of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) polls have not yet been made public till now even over a month has elapsed, making an unprecedented event in the history of the SCBA.

Meanwhile, tenure of the SCBA’s executive committee expired on March 31. According to its constitution, there is no chance to extend the tenure. However, no new committee has come till now. As a result, the SCBA is now virtually running without committee.

Many lawyers have termed the situation unfortunate. A lawyer said that this is an unprecedented event in 50 years of the history of Bangladesh. This is not just unprecedented but also quite unfortunate. 

Dr Shahdeen Malik, a senior jurist, said that it is unfortunate that the SCBA election results have not been declared till now. The SCBA held consultation with former presidents and secretaries to resolve the impasse. “It was a good decision. I believe that now the stalemate will be ended soon,” he said.    

The SCBA polls were held on March 15 and 16. But to the utter surprise of all, the election results of the important association of about 8,000 lawyers still remain pending. 

The situation was created following the resignation of AY Mashiuzzaman, head of the election sub-committee, and alleged pressure from the ruling Awami League-backed lawyers.

The vote counting ended around 12 am on the night of March 17. It was seen that the white panel supported by Awami League won six out of 14 posts, including president, while the blue panel supported by BNP secured the rest eight posts, including secretary. 

Barrister Md Ruhul Quddus Kajal of the blue panel was on the verge of victory by a narrow margin from the white panel’s candidate for the post of secretary and the election sub-committee was preparing to announce the official results. At the time, the pro-Awami League lawyers demanded fresh counting of votes for the secretary post over the claims of irregularities. 

Md Abdun Nur Dulal, secretary candidate from the AL-backed panel, submitted an application to the election sub-committee, saying that many votes have been illegally counted in favour of his rival candidate.

However, there have been allegations of misbehaviour with election committee chief AY Mashiuzzaman by the pro-AL lawyers, who, however, refuted the allegations. Additional Attorney General SM Munir said that no AL lawyer misbehaved with Mashiuzzaman.

AY Mashiuzzaman on that time had told media, “Pro-Awami League lawyers made derogatory remarks before their leaders about me and pressurised me to recount the votes. However, there is no such provision. So, I submitted my resignation letter to the SCBA secretary.”

Against this backdrop, the announcement of election results is not being made public till now. It is still uncertain when the result will be declared.

However, it was learnt that SCBA held meeting with former presidents and secretaries of the association to reach an amicable settlement. Six former presidents and 11 secretaries including Barrister Mainul Hosein, AJ Mohammad Ali, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin and Justice Nazrul Islam Chowdhury joined a meeting. 

Later, they met AY Masiuzzaman and expressed regret over the unfortunate incident that took place during the announcement of election results on the night of March 17. They requested him to complete the rest work related to the announcement of results. 

Some lawyers said that now the matter relies on AY Masiuzzaman. He knows very well when the SCBA election results will be declared.

SCBA secretary Barrister Md Ruhul Quddus Kazal, who is also candidate from the pro-BNP lawyers’ panel for the secretary post, said that AY Mashiuzzaman would declare the election results soon as the seniors are contacting with the election sub-committee. 

However, AY Mosiuzzaman said that stalemate could be resolved soon. Senior lawyers as well as former leaders of the association talked to him on the issue. He will announce the results. 

The election results issue was also raised in the Parliament at the beginning of this month. BNP MP Md Md Harunur Rashid criticised the government for not announcing the SCBA election results.

In reply, Law Minister Anisul Huq told the Parliament that the problems involving the SCBA election results would be settled by senior members and former leaders of the association. He said that SCBA did not work on the government instruction.

The Pro-Awami League and the pro-BNP lawyers have been protesting in front of the room of the president and secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association for the past one week demanding announcement of the results. 

During protest, a clash erupted in the Supreme Court on Wednesday (April 13) in the presence of hundreds of lawyers from both the sides. 

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