Law minister, attorney general advise quota protests to bank on court verdict

The Report Desk

Published: July 8, 2024, 10:13 PM

Law minister, attorney general advise quota protests to bank on court verdict

File photo (collected)

Law Minister Anisul Huq has commented that the job aspirants and students who are agitating nationwide to demand the abolition of quota system in government jobs should not protest on the streets.

He said, "If the agitators keep a lawyer and pitch their statements in the court, the court will surely give them a fair verdict."

Meanwhile, Attorney General A. M. Amin Uddin has called for patience from students protesting the quota system, advising them to avoid street protests as the matter is currently under judicial consideration.

Five ministers, including Awami League General Secretary-cum-Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, held a closed-door meeting at Awami League President Sheikh Hasina‍‍`s political office at Dhanmondi in the capital on Monday afternoon. 

Other than the law minister, the rest three minister to attend the meeting were Education Minister Barrister Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury  (Nowfel), State Minister for Information Mohammad Arafat and State Minister for Education Begum Shamsun Naher. 

Law Minister Anisul Huq told the Samakal Bangla newspaper, "Five ministers including the general secretary of Awami League sat in the meeting. Various issues including the quota issue was in our agenda. Quota is a burning issue. 

“In my statement is that I found that during the hearing of this case in the High Court, there was no lawyer for those opposing the quota. They did not make their statement in the court. Now the case has gone to the Appellate Division; I believe if they have a lawyer present in the Appellate Division, I strongly believe that the Appellate Division will give a fair verdict.”

He also said, “… This movement is not a political issue; it is a matter for the court. There is no use in protesting or shouting. The statement should go to the court. I think, if presented in court, the demand will surely get a logical verdict. Finally, I will again ask them to present their statements in court.

Atty gen’s take

Responding to journalists’ questions at his Supreme Court office on Monday, the Attorney General explained that the High Court had issued an order declaring the decision to abolish quotas in government jobs as illegal. The government has appealed this order to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

“I urge the anti-quota movement activists to be patient. The matter is a policy decision of the government and is currently under judicial review,” said A. M. Amin Uddin.

He clarified that he filed the application to suspend the High Court’s verdict on behalf of the government. The government is awaiting the full verdict from the High Court and will decide on further steps upon its receipt.

The state’s application to suspend the High Court‍‍`s verdict is scheduled for a hearing in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Thursday. If the full verdict is received by Wednesday, the Attorney General mentioned that they would attempt to file the leave to appeal by then.

The quota system, which reserved 56 percent of positions in government jobs for various quotas, was abolished in 2018. This decision was challenged in 2021 by descendants of freedom fighters, leading to a High Court ruling on June 5, 2024, declaring the abolition of the freedom fighters’ quota illegal. The government subsequently applied to the Chamber Court of the Appellate Division to suspend the verdict.
On June 9, the Attorney General argued that the reinstatement of the 30 percent freedom fighters’ quota, following the High Court‍‍`s verdict, was causing various issues. He emphasized that the decision on quotas is a policy matter for the government, not the court.

When Additional Attorney General Sheikh Mohammad Morshed brought up the ongoing movement, the Chamber Judge cautioned against including the movement in court discussions and referred the application to the regular bench of the Appellate Division.

On July 4, a six-judge bench led by Chief Justice Obaidul Hassan heard the application. The Appellate Division upheld the High Court’s verdict temporarily and instructed the state to file a leave to appeal once the full verdict is published, adjourning the case hearing.


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