A year after the 16th Amendment was passed last September, the government is yet to come up with a law empowering Parliament to remove Supreme Court judges.
Law Minister Anisul Huq had then said the bill for a new law will passed within three months.
In December last year, the minister told bdnews24.com that it would be tabled in January this year.
Now, he says it will be possible during the next parliamentary session, scheduled to begin on Nov 8.
“The draft is almost ready,” Huq told bdnews24.com recently.
Veteran Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta, heading the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, says: “The law needs to be passed.”
On Sep 17, 2014, the 16th Amendment to Bangladesh’s Constitution was passed, which gave Parliament powers to investigate and sack top judges on the grounds of incompetence and misconduct.
In keeping with the amendment, a new law needs to be introduced to facilitate investigation and gathering of evidence if there was a serious allegation against a sitting Supreme Court judge.
The 16th Amendment gave back the power for removing judges to the Parliament after 40 years.
In 1975, the president was vested with that power through the Fourth Amendment.
During Ziaur Rahman’s military rule, the Fourth Amendment was revoked and a Supreme Judicial Council was formed, entrusted with powers of impeachment.
HC rule challenging legality of 16th Amendment
Following a petition by nine Supreme Court lawyers, the High Court issued a rule on Nov 9 last year asking why the amendment would not be declared illegal and contradictory to the Constitution.
It had then ordered the Secretaries to Cabinet Division, Offices of the President and the Prime Minister, Ministry of Law and Parliament Secretariat to come up with explanations.
A High Court bench of Justices Moyeenul Islam Chowdury, Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Ashraful Kamal has set Nov 4 to hear the matter.
During a hearing on the matter on May 21, the court announced the names of five senior lawyers as members of an amicus curiae (friends of courts) to give their opinion on the matter.
They are Kamal Hossain, M Amir-ul Islam, Mahmudul Islam, Rokon Uddin Mahmud and Ajmalul Hossain QC.
“Three of them (Kamal Hossain, Rokon Uddin Mahmud and Ajmalul Hossain QC) have already attended the hearing and given their opinions. The next hearing is set for Nov 4,” petitioners’ lawyer Manzill Murshid told bdnews24.com.