BLAST and others vs. Additional Divisional Commissioner, Chittagong and others [‘ADC’s Powers’ Case]

Writ Petition No. 7013 of 2004

High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh

Facts:
BLAST filed a writ petition challenging the Additional Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong’s exercise of powers as a Sessions Judge by claiming an ex-officio authority unfounded in law. The three hill districts, Rangamati, Bandraban and Khagrachari had long been regulated by the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation, 1900 and under Section 8[1] of the Regulation, the Deputy Commissioner was the ex-officio Sessions Judge and the Additional Divisional Commissioner was the Additional Sessions Judge in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The Additional Divisional Commissioner, in clear violation of law, styled himself as the Sessions Judge of the three Hill Districts, which was supposed to be the role of the Deputy Commissioner.

Argument:
The petitioners argued that the arbitrary exercise of power by the Additional Divisional Commissioner by way of a public notification was violative of Section 8 of the CHT Regulation, 1900 and strikes at the root of the independence of judiciary, which is a basic structure of the Constitution. The exercise and functioning of power by the Additional Divisional Commissioner was without any lawful authority.

Order: The High Court issued a Rule Nisi on 02.01.2004 on the respondents to show cause why the public notification issued by the Additional Divisional Commissioner styling himself as the Sessions Judge should not be declared to be without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

Laws Cited:
Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation, 1900

Status:
Pending hearing



[1] Section 8 of the CHT Regulation has been amended by Act No. 38 of 2003 setting up separate Sessions Court in the three Hill Districts, but the same was awaiting application as per date fixed by gazette notification at the time of filing of this writ. Civil and criminal courts have now been established in the three Hill Districts, following a writ filed by BLAST. See that judgment here.

 

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