The Appellate Division of Bangladesh’s Supreme Court on Sunday dismissed an appeal by Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamist party, which sought the reversal of a 2013 High Court Division ruling that declared the party illegal. The decision barring the party from contesting elections was based on the rationale that it had violated the constitutional principle of secularism. Hence, the party cannot participate in the upcoming national elections scheduled for January 7.
A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Obaidul Hassan delivered the verdict. Jamaat-e-Islami’s attorney, Matiur Rahman Akanda, addressed the media after the dismissal of their appeal. Earlier, he had expressed resolve to proceed with the case when faced with an injunction plea filed by the opposition.
The 2013 ruling was in response to a public interest case filed by a leading Sufi group in January 2009 seeking to cancel the party’s registration with the Election Commission. The predominant reason for public sentiment against Jamaat-e-Islami was its opposition to the formation of Bangladesh during the country’s Liberation War of 1971.