Gazette notification of lower court judges conduct rules issued | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

Gazette notification of lower court judges conduct rules issued

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Dhaka – The government on Monday issued service rules and conduct for lower court judges, two days before the Appellate Division was scheduled to hold a hearing on the matter.
“The 24-page Gazette was issued and sent to BG Press for publication. We are hoping to get published gazette very shortly,” law ministry spokesperson Dr Md Rezaul Karim told journalists.The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on December 10 granted the state three days more time for finalising and publishing gazette.
The apex court on December 3 granted the state time till December 10 for publishing the Gazette.
The order came following Law Minister Anisul Huq’s recent remarks saying the gazette would be published very soon as the draft of the gazette has already been sent to President’s office.
Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, who was very much vocal about the Gazette, left the country for Australia on October 13 taking leave on health ground. He later sent his resignation letter.
“Conduct rules for the lower court judges’ will put an impact on the discipline of the judiciary. So, we are now scrutinizing all the relevant issues regarding the rules so that it cannot be questioned once the gazette notification is published,” Law Minister Huq emphasised earlier.
Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, who resigned as chief justice in November amid criticism by ruling Awami League leaders for the verdict scrapping the 16th constitutional amendment, had sent a draft of the conduct and service rules back to the government, saying it did not fulfil the Supreme Court instructions.
The government drafted the rules for lower court judges last year to fully separate the judiciary from the executive.
The separation followed a historic appellate verdict over a case filed by Judge Masdar Hossain in 1999.
It declared the judicial services independent, dissolving the judicial cadre of Bangladesh Civil Service because it was incompatible with the constitution. In 2007, two separate magistracies for judicial and executive functions were opened.
After a meeting recently with Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah, who is now acting chief justice, the law minister said the discord with the Supreme Court over the service rules for lower court judges was over.
Anisul said the government has implemented the Supreme Court’s suggestions ‘word for word’.
“We are publishing this gazette today after reaching a consensus with them (the judges),” he said.
The law minister claimed Justice Sinha had been an obstacle to finalising the service rules.
“There was much drama over the service rules…It got delayed because a person tried to politicize it,” he said, in clear reference to Justice Sinha.
He also said there was ‘no dispute’ between the executive and the judiciary, but added, “As it (discord with judiciary) has been removed, we have finally been able to publish the Gazette on the permission of the president following the consensus between the judiciary and executive.”
The minister was speaking to reporters after the International Conference on Promoting Equality, Justice and Human Rights at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Asked when a new chief justice will take over, Anisul said, “Only the president has the authority to appoint the chief justice. He (president) won’t tell me when he is making the appointment.”
He pointed out that the acting chief justice could do everything a chief justice is entitled to do.
“It won’t be a violation of the Constitution even if he (acting chief justice) appoints judges,” he added.
On Sunday, the Supreme Court gave the government three more days to publish the Gazette after some extensions.
After months of delays, Anisul submitted the final draft of the service rules to the Appellate Division for review on Jul 27 and the then chief justice, Sinha, rejected it three days later.
As tension simmered over the issue, Justice Sinha resigned on Nov 10 following intense criticism by the ruling Awami League for scrapping parliament’s powers to sack top judges on the grounds of misconduct or incompetence by the cancellation of the 16th constitutional amendment. – News Desk

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