Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Govt will move to expunge 'unacceptable' parts of constitutional amendment verdict, says law minister

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-08-10 13:43:58 BdST

bdnews24

The government will initiate measures to expunge ‘unacceptable’ parts of the top court verdict over the 16th constitutional amendment, says Law Minister Anisul Huq.

Ten days after the full verdict was published, the minister emerged before the media with the government's official reaction over the Supreme Court verdict, which took away the parliament's powers to sack top court judges.

"We decided to move for expunging the unacceptable and offensive statements in verdict," he said on Thursday, without elaborating on how it would be done.  
   
Huq said the government was 'aggrieved' by the top court's verdict, but was yet to seek a review.
 
"We are considering whether to appeal for a review. We are yet to decide as the full verdict is being scrutinised.”

The 16th Amendment to the Constitution had restored parliament’s powers to impeach higher court justices. Last year, the High Court declared the amendment ‘illegal’ and the decision was upheld on Jul 3 by the Appellate Division. The full verdict was finally released by the Supreme Court on Aug 1.

In the 799-page text, Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha focused on politics, military rule, the Election Commission, corruption, governance and the independence of the judiciary.

"The chief justice has undermined parliament with offensive comments. I believe the court has nothing to do with political issues. His statements are upsetting,” Huq said on Thursday.  
 
Recalling Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's contribution to Bangladesh’s struggle for freedom between 1948 and 1971, he pointed out that the chief justice said in his verdict that the credit for independence does not go to a single person.

"It's indeed painful for us to reiterate the truth 47 years after independence. That's why we decided for measures to expunge the offensive and irrelevant statements."

Law Commission Chairman ABM Khairul Haque said on Wednesday that as a people's republic, Bangladesh gives public representatives the authority to hold judges accountable, but that is no longer the case because of the Supreme Court's verdict

At a media briefing, Justice Haque criticised Chief Justice Sinha.

"If the honourable chief justice says the parliament is immature and its members are uneducated, it’s only logical to say the judges are immature too because they talked about MPs in their verdict, which they didn't need to."

On Thursday, pro-BNP lawyers brought the Supreme Court's attention to the comments and called for a contempt rule against the Law Commission chairman.

The chief justice, however, turned it down and said the court welcomes 'constructive criticism'.