Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Govt gets one more week to gazette judges' service rules

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-07-17 19:58:44 BdST

bdnews24

The Supreme Court has given the government one more week to publish a gazette clarifying the service rules for lower court judges.

A six-strong Appellate Division bench headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha granted the government the extension after Attorney General Mahbubey Alam appealed for two more weeks on Monday.

While giving the last extension of two weeks on July 2, the Appellate Division said, as it had several times before, that it was the 'last chance' for the government to publish the gazette.

When the attorney general appealed for more time on Monday, Chief Justice Sinha said, "Please keep in mind that the attorney general is a bridge between the government and the chief justice."

Law Minister Anisul Huq, after a meeting with the chief justice at the Supreme Court on Sunday, said the government would publish the gazette by Thursday.

"We've held all sorts of discussions. What the president considers acceptable will be in the gazette," he said.

He also said he would sit with the chief justice again on Thursday afternoon.

The Supreme Court summoned two secretaries to the law ministry on Dec 8 last year over the repeated failure of the government to issue the gazette notification.

This came after the amendment of the separate conduct rules and disciplinary rules for judicial officers in keeping with the verdict of the Masdar Hossain case, which delivered the historic judgment separating the judiciary from the executive wing of the State.

On Dec 11, a notice posted on the law ministry’s website said the president had instructed the ministry not to issue the gazette, claiming it was unnecessary.

When the two secretaries appeared before the court the next day, they were told by the chief justice that “the president had been misinformed” about the gazette.

The Appeals Division then gave Attorney General Alam a deadline to publish the gazette by Jan 15.

Masdar Hossain case

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Dec 2, 1999 delivered a historic verdict separating the judiciary from the executive in a case filed by a judge, Masdar Hossain.

It dissolved the judicial cadre of the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) on the grounds that it was incompatible with the Constitution and declared the judicial services independent.

The apex court also issued a set of directives to the government for bringing about a separation of the judiciary from the executive.

Following the verdict, the judiciary was separated from the executive branch on Nov 1, 2007.

As part of the separation, the government submitted a draft of the rules relating to the services of judges of subordinate courts.

The Appellate Division, however, declared it contradictory to the Masdar Hossain case verdict on Aug 28 last year because the draft appeared similar to the Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules 1985.

The Supreme Court then amended the draft and sent it back to the law ministry, asking it to finalise and submit it as a report on Nov 6.

With Attorney General Mahbubey Alam failing to submit any progress report on that day, the Appellate Division ordered the State to inform it about the steps taken to finalise the rules and submit them, fixing Nov 7 to issue the order.

Since then the Supreme Court has extended the time for the government to issue the gazette several times.