Vol. 4 Num 77 Tue. August 12, 2003  

FBCCI polls on schedule
Appellate Division stays HC status quo order

The Appellate Division yesterday stayed a High Court order which had directed FBCCI Election Board to maintain status quo on a statutory regulatory order (SRO) relating to FBCCI polls reform.

Following the Appellate Division order, uncertainty over holding of the election on schedule has been removed.

The Appellate Division bench comprising Chief Justice KM Hasan, Justice Fazlul Karim, Justice Syed JR Modassir Hossain and Justice Md Hamidul Huq passed the order which paves the way for holding the polls as per election schedule of the FBCCI election board. As per the schedule the polls will be held on August 25.

Earlier on July 26,the High Court ordered FBCCI Election Board to maintain status quo on the operation of the SRO for one month. The order followed a petition filed by MA Rouf Chowdhury, a former director of FBCCI and president of Bangladesh Vegetable Oil Refiners and Vanaspati Manufacturers Association who challenged the SRO.

The court also issued a rule asking the government to show cause within three weeks as to why SRO should not be declared illegal.

Later, the commerce ministry filed a petition with the Appellate Division seeking stay on the High Court order based on which, the Appellate Division on August 5 passed an interim order where it allowed the FBCCI Election Board to proceed as per declared schedule.

Additional Attorney General AJ Mohammad Ali appeared on behalf of the government while Barrister Rafique-ul-Huq represented MA Rouf Chowdhury.

Asked, Chowdhury said he would not go for an appeal against the decision of the Appellate Division.

"I will now concentrate on election campaign and soon announce a panel," Chowdhury said.

He vowed to continue his opposition against the government-imposed SRO which he said would trample voting right of general members.

Meanwhile, in another development the High Court yesterday exonerated FBCCI President Yussuf Abdullah Harun from a contempt of court case. The court, however, asked Election Board Chairman Lt Col (retd) Anisuzzaman to include AKM Shamsuddoha and Khairul Islam Chowdhury, the two who lead separate factions of Kishoreganj Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in FBCCI voter list.

The court also ordered to allow them contest in the election if they want so.

The court also asked Anisuzzaman to appear in person on Wednesday and show documents that the order has been implemented. The court will then decide which faction will remain on the list.

On July 27, after hearing a contempt petition filed by AKM Shamsuddoha, High Court issued a rule upon the FBCCI president and the election board chairman asking them to appear in the court in person August 4.

On August 4, the court, however, granted them one week to submit their explanation why they ignored the court order to include AKM Shamsuddoha as voter and allow him to contest in the FBCCI election as a director candidate.

FBCCI sources said Kishoreganj Chamber was excluded in voter list as AKM Shamsuddoha and Khairul Islam Chowdhury submitted separate panels for FBCCI voter list.