HC halts appointment under Attorney Service Ordinance
Wednesday, 30 July 2008


The High Court Tuesday slapped a three-month stay order on new appointments under the new Attorney Service Ordinance.

The order came after three Supreme Court lawyers filed a writ petition to challenge the legality of the ordinance, promulgated by the president on May 18.

Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Mashuk Hossain Ahmed passed the order.

The High Court also issued a rule nisi on the government asking it to explain in four weeks why the Attorney Service Ordinance would not be declared unconstitutional and illegal.

The three lawyers who filed the appeal are Abdul Mannan Khan, Chanchal Kumar Dutta and Khandker Anjuman Ara Shelley.

On behalf of the writ petitioners, senior advocate Mahbubey Alam said in court that the President cannot promulgate an ordinance if it is not extremely necessary or has no immediate connections to elections during the rule of the caretaker government.

The Attorney Service Ordinance does not fall in line with the 'extremely-important' category.

In the hearing, the lawyer said, the attorney general is a constitutional post, to which the president appoints in line with Article 64 of the constitution.

Additional attorneys general, deputy attorneys general and assistant attorneys general are part of the Office of the Attorney General.

Alam said, according to the constitution, the Office of Attorney General must work independently, but the new ordinance undermined its constitutional and independent character.

The ordinance has kept only the attorney general independent and subjected all other officials to executive authority, he said.

The writ petition said deputy attorneys general and assistant attorneys general should work under the attorney general, but the ordinance has put government law officials except the attorney general under a person with joint-secretary status.

"An additional attorney general enjoys the status of additional secretary. How can he work under a joint secretary? This is a discriminatory system," Alam said.

Deputy attorney general Naima Haider and assistant attorney general Mahmuda Begum represented the government in the hearing.

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