The High Court on Sunday set Thursday for the verdict on the writ petition that challenged the legality of Suranjit Sengupta’s inclusion in the Cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio.
Supreme Court lawyer Tuhin Malik on Oct 1 moved the court for a ruling to declare his inclusion in the Cabinet in the capacity illegal. Malik also sought a ruling asking why inclusion of Suranjit in the Cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio should not be declared illegal.
The bench of justices Naima Haider and Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar set the date for the verdict.
On Oct 2, it had adjourned hearing until Sunday as Attorney General Mahbubey Alam pleaded for time.
The petitioner asked for an interim ruling stopping disbursement of salaries, allowances and other benefits that Suranjit gets as a minister. The Cabinet Secretary and the Law Secretary were made respondents.
The petition had come up for hearing at the bench of justices Hasan Foez Siddique and A B M Altaf Hossain on Oct 1.
But the bench felt ’embarrassed’ to hear it and Malik took his plea to the bench of justices Haider and Sarkar.
“The Prime Minister has every right to call someone to the Cabinet. But when someone resigns, its acceptance or rejection does not depend on the Prime Minister. Once someone quits, he needs to take oath again to be retained as a minister,” Malik argued.
According to him, the Constitution provides for Minister, State Minister and Deputy Ministers not Minister without Portfolio. “This could be done temporarily. But someone can’t be kept for such a long time as a Minister without Portfolio…,” he had said.
A member of the Advisory Council of the ruling Awami League, Suranjit resigned as the Railway Minister last April following his personal secretary’s involvement in a cash scandal. A government circular later said that Suranjit had been made a Minister without Portfolio based on his plea.
Uplod, 7oct, newsroom