The High Court (HC) has declared ‘illegal’ the gazette notifications and circular determining the minimum age of the freedom fighters.
A division bench comprising Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil passed the order on Sunday following filing of a writ petition.The High Court also declared age restriction in definition of ‘Bir Muktijoddha’ under section 11 of Freedom Fighters’ Welfare Trust Act ‘illegal and unconstitutional’.
The court also ordered the authorities to resume payment of freedom fighters’ honorarium, including arrears, to petitioners. They must execute the order within 60 days of receiving a copy of the order.
On July 15 last year, the High Court asked the authorities concerned to clarify as to why notification fixing age limit of 12 years and six months for freedom fighters as of November 30, 1971 will not be declared illegal.
A bench of Justice Mainul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal issued the rule after hearing a writ petition filed by the director of Geological Survey of Bangladesh, Mahmud Hassan, challenging the notification.
The court also sought explanation as to why the letter sending Mahmud Hassan on Post-Retirement Leave (PRL) as per new notification shall not be declared illegal. The court stayed the letter for six months.
In 2016, a gazette was issued fixing 13 years as of March 26, 1971 as the minimum age required for enrolment as a freedom fighter.Later on January 17 last, the gazette was amended through a notification setting 12 years and six months as of November 30, 1971 as the minimum age requirement.
Mahmud Hassan joined the government service on the freedom fighter quota. As per new notification, his age was 12 years, four months and 12 days on November 30, 1971.
As per Public Servants (Retirement) Act 1974, Mahmud should get the chance to work till 60 years, said his counsel ABM Altaf Hossain.
“But due to fixing the minimum age of freedom fighters, Mahmud is being deprived of the chance.”