MI Farooqi
M. I. Farooqui

personal

M.I. Farooqui was born on 5 July 1943 in Patna, Bihar, India. He migrated from his native place in infancy to his adopted home of Bangladesh. He grew up in Old Dhaka. He married Sultana Suraiya Akhter in 1970. She retired as a Senior Teacher of Dhaka St Joseph High School. They are blessed with three children: Naushaba Akhter, Md. Ishtiaqur Rahman Farooqui and Shagufta Naureen Akhter. They have four grand children. He passed B.A. in 1962 and LL.B. in 1968 from the University of Dhaka. He was a working journalist in 1959-68; took part in press freedom movement during the martial law regime of Pakistan. The press movement was led by Shaheed Shahidullah Kaiser, President of East Pakistan Union of Journalists. He was enrolled as Advocate of the Subordinate Judiciary in 1971, of the High Court Division in 1976, and of the Appellate Division in 1987, and as Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court in 2001. He is an academic lawyer and author.

Bibliography

Law of Abandoned Property (revised edition), 2001; it is on the curriculum of the University of Dhaka; Citizenship and Nationalities in Bangladesh: A Legal and Social Interpretation (in press); Scores of law journal articles.

Legal career

M. I. Farooqui is the founder of the law chamber at City Heart, 8th floor, 67, Naya Paltan, Dhaka. (E mail: farooqui@citechco.net; Tel:02-9002868,02-9334485;02-8332364;88-01711679732). He in collaboration with his associates Muhammad Mohsen Rashid and M. Saleem Ullah founded in 1988 the Association for Democratic and Constitutional Advancement of Bangladesh (ADCAB) to raise the people’s awareness to protect the Constitution of Bangladesh and to fight for the rights of the citizens. Under the banner of ADCAB he brought in limelight the concept of Public Interest Litigations as a tool to protect the rights of the citizens. He appeared as a counsel in almost all the cases initiated by the ADCAB and for some other cases for the cause of the citizens. In 1991 the Appellate Division categorically denied the standing to Bangladesh Sangbadpatra Parishad (an association of editors of the newspapers) as it was not ‘a person aggrieved’ to enforce fundamental rights. M. Saleem Ullah of ADCAB initially brought PIL in Bangladesh in the nature of quo warranto, which do not require a person to be aggrieved to get standing. Locus standi question remained a road block to move further. He continued his journey. M. Saleem Ullah challenged in Haitis’ case Bangladesh’s move to send the members of the armed forces to Haiti, claiming violation of Article 63 and Article 141A of the Constitution. He lost the case on merit but not on standing. Judgment was delivered on 30 November 1994. He along with others moved another writ petition in 1996 for protection of a park at Mirpur raising the question of ‘right to life’, when the Government wanted to convert it into residential plots. Rule was issued on 3 November 1996. It was made absolute on 2 July 2002. Meanwhile Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers’ Association (BELA) emerged as an NGO in 1993. BELA lost a PIL on the ground of standing on 18 August 1994. In an appeal filed by BELA the Appellate Division liberated the roadblock on 25 July 1996. Statelessness may also result of targeted discrimination, often due to race or ethnicity, political change, transfer of territory, expulsion of people from the territory, nationality based solely on ‘race’ in a nation-state. This had happened in Bangladesh, when the Government initially refused to accept Urdu-speaking people as citizens, and denied them political and civil rights. But the stand of the Government was successfully challenged in Mukhtar Ahmed vs. Government of Bangladesh, 34 DLR (1982) 29; Abdul Khaleque vs. The Court of Settlement, 44 DLR (1992) 273; Abed Khan and others vs. Government of Bangladesh, 55 DLR (2003) 273; Sena Kalayan Sangstha vs. Haji Sufi Fazal Ahmed and others,11 MLR (AD) (2006) 86. The Court consistently held, with undivided opinion, that Urdu speaking people (migrants from India) living in Bangladesh are citizens. Ultimately they got civil and political rights, and were enrolled as voters. Citizenship right was restored to them. Farooqui conducted the cases successfully. He appeared in a number of PIL cases including the case of holding double-office by Justice Mohammad Abdul Quddus Chowdhury as Judge and Secretary, Ministry of Law reported in 46 DLR (1994) 691. Rule was discharged. Against it a Civil Appeal was preferred in the Appellate Division. On the day of hearing on 25 November 1990 Attorney General informed the Court that Justice Quddus had resigned as Secretary of the Government. Another case of holding double-office by Justice Mohammad Abdur Rauf as Judge and Chief Election Commissioner was challenged. Rule was discharged. See 1 BLC (1996) 229. The Government, however, abandoned the practice of appointing judges for two offices. In retaliation Farooqui faced wrath of the Government (1991-96). The Anti-Corruption Bureau served a notice on 12 August 1994 calling upon him to submit a list of the cases he had appeared in between 1 March 1993 and 20 March 1994. This was a move to scare his clients. The High Court Division found the Government’s action mala fide. See 51 DLR (1999) 421; 19 BLD (1999) 382. The Government (2001-2006) again resorted to appointing sitting judge as Chief Election Commissioner. Justice M. A. Aziz, while a sitting judge of the Appellate Division, joined as Chief Election Commissioner on 23 May 2005. This was challenged by Mr. Ruhul Quddus, Advocate now an honourable justice of the High Court Division. Farooqui appeared for the petitioner, and the rule was made absolute. Justice Aziz’s appointment was declared to be unconstitutional. See 60 DLR (2008) 511. By the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution the provisions of Care-taker Government were inserted in the Constitution, which was challenged, and declared void by the Appellate Division. Farooqui with Mohsen Rashid appeared for the petitioner. See 20 BLT (Special Issue) (AD) 2012; 64 DLR (AD)(2012) 169. Farooqui fought for sex workers’ right of profession in Bangladesh challenging their eviction from the place of their profession at Kandupatti in Dhaka in 1998. There was a split judgment of a division bench. The third learned judge, however, discharged the rule on technical grounds, but their right of profession was upheld. See Sultana Nahar vs Bangladesh and others, 18 BLD 363. He successfully challenged the provisions that provided the mandatory capital punishment in Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan (Bishes Bidhan) Ain 1995 in BLAST-Shukur Ali’s case. The judgment was delivered on 5 May 2015 by the Appellate Division. The operative portion of the judgment is as follows: (a) Sub-sections (2) and (4) of section 6 of the Nari-O-Shishu Nirjatan (Bishesh Bidhan) Ain 1995, sub-sections (2) and (3) of section 34 of the the Nari-O-Shishu Nirjatan (Bishesh Bidhan) Ain1 2000 and section 303 are declared ultra vires the Constitution. (b) Despite repeal of the Ain of 1995, the pending cases and pending appeals in respect of those offences shall be tried and heard in accordance with the provisions of the Ain of 1995, but the sentences prescribed in respect of similar nature of offences in the Ain of 2000 shall be applicable. (c) There shall be no mandatory sentence of death in respect of an offence of murder committed by an offender who is under a sentence of life imprisonment. Farooqui visualizes that this decision will ultimately lead to abolition of the capital punishment in Bangladesh.

Other activities

He was a Member of the Advisory Board of HEEDS Bangladesh in 1978-79 for community development; Supreme Court Correspondent of The Bangladesh Observer in 1985-1998. By objective reporting he supported the movement against disintegration of the Supreme Court and independence of judiciary in 1982-89.He contributed to Continuing Legal Education Programme (CLEP) and Vocational Course (VC) conducted by Bangladesh Bar Council. Reviewed Abstracts for 5th International Congress in Asia & Pacific held in Kulalampur, Malaysia. He reviewed Abstract Sheets for IXXX International AIDS Conference (9-14 July, 2000.Durban, South Africa). He was nominated by the Government as a member of Bangladesh Bar Council in 2008.
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