Monday, November 19, 2018 | ePaper

Criticism growing over delay in appointment of new Chief Justice

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Gulam Rabbani :
Criticism is going on over delay in appointment of new Chief Justice of the country.
Although the Constitution does not say any time limit to recruit new Chief Justice if the post becomes vacant, the post should not be kept empty for a long time, say law experts.
In the past, Chief Justices were appointed immediately after the post had become vacant, they pointed out.
Article 97 of the Constitution says, "If the office of the Chief Justice becomes vacant, or if the President is satisfied that the Chief Justice is, on account of absence, illness, or any other cause, unable to perform the functions of his office, those functions  shall, until some other person has entered upon that office, or until the Chief Justice has resumed his duties, as the case may be, be performed by the next most senior Judge of the Appellate Division."
Meanwhile, Law Minister Anisul Huq on November 15 said that the constitution does not stipulate any timeframe for the President to appoint a new Chief Justice following the retirement or resignation of a Chief Justice.
 "The honourable President has time and he will do it. I cannot say when, where and how the Chief Justice will be appointed," the minister said while responding to journalists' queries at an anti-drug campaign programme of Prottoy Medical Clinic Ltd in the capital's Baridhara.
Anisul Huq said Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court's Appellate Division, would carry out the responsibilities of the Chief Justice until a new Chief Justice is appointed.
Article 95(1) of the Constitution says, "The Chief Justice shall be appointed by the President, and the other Judges shall be appointed by the President after consultation with the Chief Justice." Former Law Minister Barrister Shafiq Ahmed told The New Nation, "Though there is no mention of time limit to appoint new Chief Justice in the Constitution, it is not right to keep the post vacant indefinitely. New Chief Justice should be appointed in a reasonable time."
President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and also Senior Advocate Zainul Abedin said that it's unprecedented to keep vacant the post of the Chief Justice for a long time.
 "Chief Justice's post never been vacant in a damocratic country. In our contry the post was vacant for maximum 13 days at the period of former President Hussain Muhammad Ershad, who is also known as a dictator, as he did not want to appoint Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed as the Chief Justice," said SCBA president.
 "It seems that the President is unable to take decesion independently in this regard, though he has the full jurisdiction," he added. Law expert Dr Shahdeen Malik described the situation as "irresponsible and unnatural". "In this way a Judiciary can not run," he added.
Amid criticism from the ruling quarters over different issues, including the 16th amendment verdict, Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha resigned on November 10.
President Md Abdul Hamid has already accepted the resignation of Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha.
After President's acceptance, the letter was forwarded to the Law Ministry for further action, President's Press Secretary Mohammad Joynal Abedin told journalists.
The resignation was effectuated from November 10, the date when the letter was signed. The letter reached Bangabhaban through Bangladesh High Commission in Singapore, he added.

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