HC order on 16th Amendment Thursday | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

HC order on 16th Amendment Thursday

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The High Court will deliver its order today (Thursday) on a writ petition challenging the 16th amendment to the Constitution. The amendment empowers Parliament to remove Supreme Court judges.
On March 10, a three-member special bench of the HC, comprising Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury, Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoqu and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal, set the date after concluding final hearing on the rule issued by it earlier.
The country’s people are keen interest to see the verdict. If the HC bench would declare illegal the 16th amendment, then the Bangladesh Supreme Court Judges (Investigation) Bill 2016, which okayed by the cabinet empowering the parliament to impeach the judges for misconduct, might not be passed in the parliament. Hence, the legal arena people are keenly waiting to see the verdict.During the final arguments, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam urged the court to reject the petition, as it was not filed in accordance with the due process of law. He said the petition was not maintainable as the government announced that it would enact a law to remove Supreme Court judges. The petition was filed, though the government is yet to make a law in this regard, he noted.
On the other hand, advocate Manzill Murshid, counsel for the petitioner, told the court that the HC should make the rule absolute as the 16th amendment has changed the basic structure of the Constitution. Opposing this point, the chief law officer of the state told the court that the government brought the 16th amendment only to restore the original Constitution of 1972 by erasing the martial law proclamation that was done against the spirit of the Constitution. The court fixed May 5 for delivering its order. The provision in the Constitution which empowered Parliament to remove SC judges was deleted in 1978 through an amendment and the power was vested in the Supreme Judicial Council headed by the Chief Justice.
On September 17, 2014, Parliament unanimously passed the Constitution (16th Amendment) Bill, 2014 without any opposition, empowering Parliament to remove Supreme Court judges for incapacity and misconduct.
On November 9 in 2014, in response to a writ petition, the HC issued a rule asking for explanation why the 16th amendment should not be considered illegal and unconstitutional.
The cabinet secretary, President’s office secretary, Prime Minister’s office secretary, Parliament secretary, and the law, justice and parliamentary affairs secretary have been told to reply within two weeks. The court issued the rule after hearing a writ petition filed by nine Supreme Court lawyers, challenging the constitutional validity of the amendment notified in the official gazette on September 22, 2014.
On September 17, Parliament passed the 16th amendment bill, rejecting all calls for imploring public opinion. President Md Abdul Hamid gave his consent to the bill on September 22. According to the amendment, not only judges, Parliament can also remove the Chief Election Commissioner and election commissioners, the chairman and members of the Public Service Commission, chairman and commissioners of the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General on similar grounds.

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