After being convicted and sentenced to four years of rigorous imprisonment by a Kuwaiti court, there is now question whether independent lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam, also known as Kazi Papul, would be eligible to retain his position as a legislator.
Eminent lawyer and constitution expert Dr Shahdeen Malik told The Business Standard that the imprisoned and convicted lawmaker is no longer eligible to remain a member of parliament.
"The parliament speaker may take a judicial notice of the conviction and declare the seat vacant according to the law," he said.
He also said, "Our constitution says if the prison sentence is more than two years, the Member of Parliament post will be vacated. There is no obligation over whether the trial should be held under the local law or not. The House speaker and the Election Commission will surely take action in this regard."
Advocate Md Fazle Rabbi Miah, deputy speaker of parliament, said the Kuwaiti court's verdict does not mean the lawmaker would be removed from his post immediately.
He said parliament would be able to take action against Papul only after receiving a certified copy of the verdict.
The copy has to be sent to the Bangladesh government on behalf of the Kuwaiti authorities, he added.
"Any Bangladeshi citizen can also send a certified copy to the House speaker seeking Papul's removal from his parliamentary post."
Chief Whip of the parliament Noor-E-Alam Chowdhury earlier told the media the parliament had nothing to do about a lawmaker unless he was convicted.
He also said the parliament would take measures in accordance with the constitution.
A member of the parliament shall vacate his or her seat if he or she is convicted of a criminal offence involving moral turpitude "by a competent court" and is sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, according to articles 66 and 67 of the constitution.
Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam said the commission could do nothing on its own to vacate a parliamentary seat as the authority to initiate the process rests with the parliament.
She said the commission would comply with the request, if any, from the parliament.
Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said no one had informed the parliament of Papul's verdict yet.
"I learned about the matter from newspapers. The House speaker has to be officially informed as per the Rules of Procedure.
"Moreover, since it is a matter of a court outside the country, it is a bit different. If no one informs the parliament or the speaker, we cannot say anything from our own," she added.
In this regard, Dr Shahdeen said the Bangladesh embassy in Kuwait could also officially write to the parliament or the House speaker to inform them of the matter.