Wednesday, December 12, 2018 | ePaper

Writ should have been unnecessary for appointment of CJ

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Gulam Rabbani :
The High Court (HC) on Sunday rescheduled hearing on January 28 on the writ petition challenging the legality of keeping vacant the post of Chief Justice for the last two and a half month without appointing a new Chief Justice (CJ) .
The hearing was fixed for yesterday at the HC bench of Justice Zinat Ara and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo on prayer made by advocate Eunus Ali Akond following its submission on January 3.
Earlier several benches of the HC Division turned down to hear the writ petition as an   unusual mater. Finally the bench headed by the Justice Zinat Ara agreed to hear it. The rescheduling was made following submission by Attorney General Mahbubey Alam for time to take preparation for the hearing.
In the petition the lawyer made prayer for a rule on concerned government functionaries as respondent to explain why they are not taking steps to appoint a new Chief Justice as his post is  laying vacant.
Advocate Eunus Ali Akond in his petition said the post of the Chief Justice cannot be kept vacant even for a day under the Constitution. He said a chief justice even can be appointed from lawyers, his appointment by a senior Judge of the Appellate Division is not mandatory.
In fact laying of the post of Chief Justice is quite unusual for even one day while such writ for appointment of the Chief Justice is also unnecessary in normal situation. Such move is only destroying the image of the Court but the vacuum is encouraging such writ.
Experts said the concern is that the government is wrongly advised and this in turn is minimizing the importance of judiciary. A country going without a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court essentially reflects a state of barbarism and lawlessness. The country's lawyers are divided to protect judiciary so this kind of situation is arising.
In this view it is unthinkable that the judiciary as a very important organ of the state can function without the Chief Justice month after month. People naturally wonder what is the mystery behind it. There are many speculations in the air but what needs to be reckoned with is that like the absence of the Prime Minister makes the executive branch of the government dysfunctional; so also the absence of the Chief Justice makes the judiciary ineffective.
The absence of the Chief Justice means the country can also be run in absence of the Prime Minister in parliamentary system of government. Parliament can function without Speaker. But in two organs of the state are having their head in place. Why then the government is keeping the post of Chief Justice vacant is the big question.
Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, former President of the Surpeme Court Bar Association, said, "It is unprecedented and abnormal that the post of the Chief Justice is laying vacant for long. It is undermining the image of the judiciary and creating unrest in the mind of the people. The post of the Chief Justice can never be left vacant in a democratic country."
During the tenure of former President Hussain Muhammad Ershad the post was vacant for 13 days as he did not want to appoint Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed as the Chief Justice, he said.
Advocate Zainul Abedin, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, said, this is unfortunate for the nation to see that the post of Chief Justice is vacant for long. The situation is causing anxiety among the people.
"Judiciary is the guardian of the Constitution. Crisis of confidence will be created among people if the top post remains vacant for a long time. Good governance and the democracy will suffer and people will face difficulty in getting justice," he said.
Dr Shahdeen Malik said, "It is an abnormal situation in the judiciary. A perception has grown that the government working to influence the judiciary. The state, society, democracy and rule of law now suffer the most as the post of the Chief Justice is laying vacant."
Bangladesh and the post of Chief Justice is an integral part. Everything is harmed by ignoring this vital appointment, he said.

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