Monday, September 24, 2018

Govt facilitated Chief Justice Sinha's wish to go on leave, abroad: Law minister

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2017-10-12 21:40:34 BdST

Law Minister Anisul Huq has urged the BNP not to do politics over Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha's sick leave, saying the government only followed his wish in issuing the executive order on the leave, its extension and his going abroad.

His remarks came after the ministry issued the circular on Thursday amid huge discussions over Justice Sinha's leave just before his retirement.

The announcement of the leave followed harsh criticism of the chief justice by ruling Awami League leaders for repealing parliament's powers to sack judges and some of his observations in the verdict.

The BNP had welcomed the verdict, which restored the Supreme Judicial Council provision in the Constitution, a system introduced during the party founder Ziaur Rahman’s military rule to sack top court judges.   

It maintains that the government forced Justice Sinha to go on the leave and travel abroad.

The law minister took questions on the issue at the launch of Legislative Impact Assessment Programme at Hotel Sonargaon in Dhaka.

"Nothing extra has been included in the circular on Justice Sinha's leave. It carries only what he wished," he said.

In a clear reference to the BNP, the law minister said, "Don't try to launch an agitation on these issues. These are not fodder for any movement and there won't be any movement."

Justice Sinha went on a month's leave on Oct 3 and Thursday's circular was on its extension.

The order said Justice Sinha’s application for a 30-day leave from Oct 3 to Nov 1 had previously been approved but a new order was issued by the president to extend the chief justice’s overseas stay.

The notice states that Justice Abdul Wahhab Miah will fulfil the duties of the chief justice between Nov 2 and Nov 10, or until Justice Sinha returns.

"What he wanted in his letter has been put in our summary or circular, whatever you call it. What his personal assistant wrote in the letter is that he wants to travel abroad," the law minister said.

Law Minister Anisul earlier publicised Chief Justice Sinha's letter to the president seeking the leave.

In the letter, Justice Sinha asked for the leave citing complications following his longtime treatment for cancer.

Later, he wrote to the president again informing him that he planned to travel with his wife to Australia where their eldest daughter lives.

Anisul said the chief justice wanted to travel to four countries - Australia, Canada, the US and the UK.

"He wants to leave tomorrow (Friday) and return on Nov 10," the law minister said referring to Justice Sinha's second letter to the president.

Anisul said the chief justice informed the president about his plan to stay abroad until Nov 10 because the president needs to appoint a chief justice on a temporary basis while he is away.

The journalists also asked the law minister about the government's plan to seek a review of the verdict that scrapped the 16th constitutional amendment, which restored parliament's powers to sack the top court judges.

"I've heard that we've received a copy of the full (appeals) verdict yesterday or the day before yesterday. It's a 799-page judgment and every line is very important. We will try to file the review petition within 30 days," Anisul said.  

At the function, the Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division signed a deal with International Finance Corporation or IFC on cooperation in assessing the impact of the legislative.

Joint Secretary Shahed Ahmed and IFC Acing Country Manager Ehsanul Azim signed the deal.