Monday, October 23, 2017

Bangladesh history distorted in 16th amendment verdict: Law minister

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-08-13 18:03:41 BdST


Bangladesh’s history has been distorted in the observation made by Chief Justice SK Sinha in his verdict to cancel the 16th constitutional amendment, the law minister has said.

The comments call for an inquiry over possible misconduct, Anisul Huq said at a meeting with journalists at Dhaka Reporters Unity or DRU on Sunday.

“History was distorted … there is no doubt about that.”

“Our independence did not happen overnight. Its declaration also did not happen overnight. Bangabandhu announced it after earning the people’s mandate through a political movement.

“It would be a crime if I distorted it,” the minister remarked.

Replying to questions, he said, “So far, there is no definition for misconduct. So this has to be checked to see if there was misconduct or anything else … there is scope for that.”

On Aug 1, the Supreme Court published the full copy of its verdict to cancel the amendment that had returned to parliament the power to sack judges for incapacity or misconduct.

Chief Justice Sinha, in his observation, made remarks on the state of politics, martial law, election commission, corruption and the independence of the judiciary.

The full verdict has touched off reactions and protests.

Politicians of the ruling Awami League have been making comments to criticise the chief justice.

They are accusing him of undermining Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the nation’s father, by saying in his verdict that – “No nation - no country is made of or by one person.”

Chief Justice Sinha also said, “If we want to truly live up to the dream of Sonar Bangla as advocated by our father of the nation, we must keep ourselves free from this suicidal ambition and addiction of ‘I’ness. That only one person or one man did all this and etc.”

That part of his observation has been described by Attorney General Mahbubey Alam as an attempt to ‘erase the name of one’s father”.

The law minister was asked about who now holds the authority to remove judges over misconduct. “That authority lies with the president. If there is no 16th amendment or any mention of the Supreme Judicial Council in the Constitution … that leaves only him,” he said.

There is substantial confusion on whether legal provisions return to their previous versions once their updates are declared illegal by court, he said.

“The case over the eight amendment is an example. The court cannot create laws. It can only define it. It has jurisdiction to say that the amendment violated the constitution. But it cannot be said with certainty if it can order the retention of the earlier version.”

About his earlier statement that the verdict’s “unacceptable parts” will be expunged, he said, the move would be undertaken through the court.

“Pleas have to be filed to seek reviews of Supreme Court’s decisions. We have not decided on it yet. We are still thinking about this.”

“This is a 799-page verdict. Its various parts have to be read and highlighted before seeking a review. I will not say that this work will be done in one or two days. It is being analysed with great care. We have talked about removing the objectionable, unpleasant and irrelevant parts. We are working on it.”                 

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