Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Court welcomes criticism over verdict on 16th constitutional amendment: Chief Justice Sinha 

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-08-10 13:01:25 BdST


Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha has turned down a call for a contempt rule against the Law Commission chief for his remarks on the verdict that declared the 16th constitutional amendment illegal.

The top court welcomes 'constructive criticism' and will not fall into the ‘trap' of criticism either by the ruling party or the opposition, Justice Sinha said on Thursday.
His remarks came after pro-BNP lawyers brought the court's attention to a media briefing by Justice ABM Khairul Haque, chief of the Law Commission, on Wednesday.
Haque said the verdict that took away parliament's powers to sack top judges appears to be "preconceived."
“The constitution says this is the People's Republic of Bangladesh. After this verdict, it seems our country is going to be the Judges' Republic of Bangladesh," said Haque, who served as the chief justice from 2010 to 2011.
Some of Chief Justice Sinha's comments on members of parliament were "irrelevant" and the terms he used were "immature", according to his former colleague at the top court.
Presenting media reports of the press conference, Supreme Court Bar Association President Zainul Abedin told the Appellate Division on Thursday that it was not appropriate for Justice Haque to make such remarks as he heads the Law Commission.
"We are discussing it today only to uphold the judiciary's stature," said Abedin, a pro-BNP lawyer.
Chief Justice Sinha said, "Anyone can criticise a verdict, if it's constructive. We welcome constructive criticism or else it will cause harm to the judiciary."
Senior lawyer and pro-Awami League leader SM Rezaul Karim, who was present in court during Abedin’s rule request, said the bar association had not adopted a resolution on the Law Commission chief’s comments.

Supreme Court Bar Association General Secretary Mahbub Uddin Khokon, a pro-BNP lawyer, described Justice Haque’s comments as ‘clearly offensive to court’.

“I would request you all to restrain yourselves,” the chief justice said in response to Khokon’s request for a rule.

“Neither the government nor the opposition will be able to lure us into a trap. We are careful. The decision was made after the deliberations of seven judges. Do not try to play politics with our decision.”

BNP Standing Committee member and former Law Minister Moudud Ahmed has also called the Law Commission chairman’s remarks ‘offensive’.

The chief justice said there could be constructive criticism of the decision and that history would ultimately decide.

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 Sinha focused on politics, military rule, the Election Commission, corruption, governance and the independence of the judiciary.

Law Minister Anisul Huq spoke on the court’s decision at a press conference on Thursday.