Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha has asked the judiciary to come forward to stop the executive from usurping all powers.”Beware of the executive; it is trying to take away all our powers,” said Justice Sinha during his inaugural address at a Book Fair organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association.“The judiciary and the legal profession have always raised their voice whenever such tendencies have surfaced in the past. If they don’t step forward to stop the executive’s bid to usurp all powers, who will?I appeal to all lawyers, especially the seniors, to step forward,” he added.The chief justice criticised the Bar Council for boycotting district courts on the ground they were useless instead of going for proactive action.”The Bar Council is not just about elections. Senior advocates who are respected in the profession must step forward and ensure the Council uses its rules to combat the failure to secure justice in the lower courts. Don’t be silent spectators!” Justice Sinha said.”When we were in the Bar, it was effective and strong. We never supported unjust demands made by advocates,” he added.
The chief justice said the lawyers across the country had earlier set ‘guidelines to establish the rule of law’ through council. “Why don’t you do this now?” he asked.About the independence of the judiciary, he said, “Will the judiciary be freed if we only talk about it? We will also have to consider the charter [to ensure]the freedom of the judiciary. If you say the chief justice and the Supreme Court did not do anything – it won’t work.”He said 350 judges could not sit in court for a lack of space. “If I don’t get enough money and financial freedom, how will I arrange space for the judges? How will I get them dispose of cases?”Justice Sinha said he would have spoken in unison with the lawyers if they spoke about these instead of speaking about interim bail.Recalling his visit to India two months ago, he said he saw his Indian counterpart TS Thakur hosting judges who will be his successors until 2025.
“I just kept staring at him after hearing of this. What a difference between them and us! That’s called the rule of law and independence of the judiciary! I don’t want to say what differences there will be between their and our trials,” he said.Justice Sinha asked the lawyers to raise their voice over independence of the judiciary instead of seeking bail only.“You are the conscientious people of society. If you only ask for bails instead of speaking about independence of the judiciary, where will we [exercise]that independence?” he asked.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Dec 2, 1999, delivered a historic verdict separating the judiciary from the executive in a case filed by Masdar Hossain.The Appellate Division dissolved the judicial cadre of the Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) on the ground that it was incompatible with the Constitution and declared the judicial services as independent.
The apex court also issued a set of directives to the government for segregating the judiciary from the executive.Following the verdict, the judiciary was separated from the executive branch on Nov 1, 2007.Months after taking charge as the chief justice last year, Justice Sinha had said the judiciary was yet to become free.Powers related to disciplinary rules and lower court judges were still in the hands of the executive, he had argued.