27. The questions whether by his conduct the respondent disqualified himself to be a citizen of Bangladesh or whether he renounced his citizenship of Bangladesh or whether he continued to be a citizen of Pakistan, implying he had already been a citizen of Pakistan are totally irrelevant under Article 3. If the purpose was to deter the persons mentioned in the notification from making anti-Bangladesh propaganda then that was not covered by Article 3. The only question that can be decided under Article 3 whether a person is qualified to be deemed to be a citizen of Bangladesh.
65. In considering a matter before it the Court will only consider whether the aggrieved person has got the legal entitlement to the relief claimed. Any consideration of his political antecedents having no bearing on the questions of law involved in the matter will be irrelevant.
The only question at issue therefore is: Did the Government exercise its power legally and in terms of Article 3 as would make the notification immune from the doctrine of ultra vires? A point of law cannot be matched by alleging political mis‑demeanour. That is sheer perversity.
81. The impugned order, inter alia, refers to conduct and, as noticed above, the Government’s affidavit is mainly based on the respondent’s political conduct during the liberation struggle and after. There is complete unanimity on all hands that the political conduct of the respondent was wholly irrelevant for deciding the question under Article 3 of President’s Order No. 149 of 1972. There is no power under Article 3 for denuding a person of his citizenship for the offence of collaboration with the Pakistan Occupation Army. Indeed there is nothing in President’s Order No. 149 of 1972 which authorised the Government on the date of the impugned notification to disqualify a citizen on the ground of collaboration with the Pakistan Occupation Army. President’s Order No. 149 of 1972 was never intended to punish an alleged collaborator of the said Army by stripping him of his citizenship.
The argument of the learned Attorney-General is long on emotion and short on law.
First, his commentaries on the criminal aspects of the political antecedents of the respondent were never tested in a court of law.
Secondly, even if the allegations are correct, our citizenship law does not deny citizenship to those who opposed the creation of Bangladesh and even killed freedom fighters and were engaged in murder, rape, etc. Our law has followed the Pakistan law in this respect. There were many Muslims (and Hindus as well) who opposed the creation of Pakistan and even voted against Joining Pakistan in the plebiscites held in the North Western Frontier Province and in Sylhet. Yet the Pakistan Citizenship Law did not deny them citizenship. They were deemed to be citizens of Pakistan if they had permanent residence in the territory of Pakistan and did not leave the same. Bangladesh also followed the same principle. The history of citizenship legislation, detailed earlier, bears ample testimony to that. In Bangladesh, collaborators and Razak’ars were prosecuted under the Collaborators Order, President’s Order No. 8 of 1972, but they were not denied the citizenship of Bangladesh.