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Tuesday, September 16, 2014, Aswin 1, 1421, Zilqad 20, 1435 Hijr


Restoring JS power to impeach SC judges
Constitution amendment bill to be passed Wednesday
Observer Online Report
Publish Date : 2014-09-16,  Publish Time : 22:29,  View Count : 25
The Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Bill 2014 seeking to restore Jatiya Sangsad's authority to impeach or remove Supreme Court judges on grounds of misconduct or incapacity will be passed on Wednesday.

Parliament Secretary Ashraful Mokbul on Tuesday evening said that the bill will be passed on Wednesday.

Law Minister Huq has said that the law will be formulated within three months of the amendment.

On September 7, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Haque tabled the bill in parliament with a proposal for amending different sections of Article 96 of the constitution regarding impeachment of the Supreme Court judges.
 
It was then forwarded to the Parliamentary Standing Committee of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for vetting. The parliamentary standing committee on the law ministry has brought some changes to the bill. Committee chairman Suranjit Sengupta placed the report on the bill during Sunday's session.

In its report placed in parliament, the JS body has made some recommendations including the one for replacing the preamble of the bill with a brief one.

With passage of the bill, the existing constitutional provision for the chief justice-led Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) will be abolished.

The constitution of 1972 had empowered the parliament with the authority to remove a SC judge. But the fourth amendment to the constitution in January 1975 abolished the power and empowered the president with the authority.

Then military ruler General Ziaur Rahman introduced the SJC by amending the constitution through martial law order which was ratified by the constitution's Fifth Amendment in 1979.

The High Court in 2005 declared the fifth amendment illegal and void. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in 2010 upheld the HC verdict, but condoned the introduction of the SJC until December 2012.

The AL-led government however introduced afresh the SJC through the constitution's 15th amendment in 2011.

After three years, the government's move to empower parliament to remove SC judges by scrapping the SJC has drawn huge criticism. In views of many jurists and opposition parties feared that this will appear as a threat to the independence of the SC.

ZA




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