The High Court on Thursday declared unconstitutional the latest amendment to the Anti-Corruption Commission Act curtailing its power. Passing the judgment upon a wit petition, an HC division bench comprising Justice Kazi Reza-Ul Haque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain, scrapped the relevant section 32 (A) of the ACC (Amendment) Act, 2013. On November 11 last year, Parliament passed the ‘Anti Corruption Commission (Amendment) Bill 2013’, inserting a provision for taking prior government approval to initiate corruption case against any public servant. Later, the President gave his consent to the bill. However, the parliamentary standing committee on the Law Ministry earlier recommended against inserting the provision of taking prior government approval to file graft cases against public servants. The Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) filed the writ in the form of public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the constitutional validity of the ACC (Amendment) Act, 2013. Immediately after the passage of the amended law, the graft watchdogs and rights bodies voiced concern and recommended reconsidering the bill as it “goes against the country’s constitution.” Advocate Manzill Morshed appeared for the HRPB while deputy attorney general Biswajit Roy for the government. Talking to reporters after the HC verdict, Manzill Morshed said everybody is equal in the eyes of law as per the constitution, and a law giving special opportunity to any section is unequal. “So, the court skips the section 32 (A) of the ACC Act,” he added. The amendment of the law incorporated a new provision in the form of section 32 (A) of the ACC Act 2004 under which the Commission must follow the Rule 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) against a judge, magistrate or a civil servant. According to the Rule 197 of the CrPC, when any person who is a judge within the meaning of section 19 of the Penal Code, or when any magistrate, or when any public servant who is not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of the government, is accused of any offence alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, no court shall take cognisance of such offence except with the prior government sanction.