Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Khaleda Zia loses final battle

BNP chief Khaleda Zia has lost the final legal battle to win back her cantonment house.

The Appellate Division turned down three of Khaleda's four appeals regarding the house on Monday.

Khaleda's bid to seek permission to challenge a High Court verdict was turned down.

A regular bench headed by chief justice A B M Khairul Haque scrapped the petition around 11 am on Monday.A third appeal urging to return the house to her possession was also quashed by the court.The court, however, accepted the hearing of Khaleda's contempt of court petition which has been adjourned until Tuesday.

BNP-backed lawyers, immediately after the order, brought out a procession protesting the verdict. Meanwhile, the Awami League lawyers welcomed the judgment.

Attorney general Mahbubey Alam argued for the state while Supreme Court lawyers Khandaker Mahbub Hossain and Moudud Ahmed represented Khaleda.

Lawyers on both sides engaged in heated argument duing the hearing.

The court said, "It was decided to hear the issue 29 Nov (Monday) upon T H Khan's Nov 10 adjournment appeal. The leave to appeal, the stay order and the contempt of court appeals have been included as number three in the list of the court's Monday activities.

"T H Khan at the very beginning of the hearing requested to hear first the contempt petition. But as the day was fixed for the leave to appeal and the two others had derived from that, it will be heard first.

"T H Khan, however, repeatedly pleaded for hearing on the contempt petition first."

The court said, "We assured him that all the three subjects will be heard and settled one by one. He was also assured that barrister Rafiq-ul-Haque and Moudud Ahmed will be allowed to present their statements. As he (Khan) is the most senior lawyer, he will start the hearing."

It went on to say, "At this stage, he (Khan) requested to adjourn the leave to appeal hearing and said he needs more direction from his client [Khaleda]."

The court order stated that the counsels of the petitioner, Khaleda Zia, took 90 minutes at court and still did not start the hearing on the leave to appeal petition despite repeated urgings by the court.

So, the leave to appeal and the petition for an injunction on removal of structures and furniture from the premises and asking for the residence to be returned to her possession in the same condition was being rejected for not being presented to court.

Attorney general Mahbubey Alam, after the court verdict was delivered, told reporters, "Probably the appeal (leave to appeal) had no merits. It had only been filed to make it a political issue."
Regarding the chaos in the courtroom, Alam said, "Some lawyers loyal to BNP created similar commotions at the High Court."
Khaleda's counsel Moudud said, "T H Khan and Rafiq-ul-Haque requested the court to exclude the leave to appeal from the court's proceedings since Khaleda had been evicted from her house.

"This is why hearing on that appeal could be held later. But the court did not accept any statements. It had unexpectedly annulled two appeals without any hearing," Moudud added.

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