The law ministry has finalised the draft of a new law on the removal process of Supreme Court judges, with ample provision for upholding their rights and to defend themselves.
This has been named the Misconduct and Inability (Investigation and Evidence) of Supreme Court Judges Act, 2016.
The act has a provision of forming a three-member neutral and independent committee led by a former chief justice or a former judge of the appellate division, to investigate the misconduct of judges. It will also include a former attorney general and an eminent person.
The ministry has sent the draft to the chief justice after approval from the law commission. Recommendation of the stakeholders also will be taken.
The law commission meanwhile made a lot of changes in the code of conduct for the lawyers, which was prepared by the law ministry. The commission excluded the term which said that the lawyers have to submit their wealth statement which could be published in the SC website if the chief justice approves.
The commission also excluded that justices should not have any chamber of their relatives in their residence. The original draft also had the prohibition that justices should not hold any hearing of their relatives in their court.
The commission further excluded that it will be a violation of the code of conduct if any justice remains chairman or director of a company or any leader of the club.
Former law minister Shafique Ahmed said these terms should definitely stay in the law as the definition of misconduct.
“It is not right that the terms will not be kept in the Act after the law commission excluded them,” said Shafique Ahmed.
The draft also mentioned that individuals will face legal action for filing false cases against judges to harass them.
Law minister Anisul Huq said it is not the right time to talk about this in detail. The Act will be discussed with the stakeholders in details.
The minister said, “I saw both the drafts. The draft made by the law commission seemed easy to me and I will say that the law commission showed consistency in securing the rights of the justices.”
“I always say that when there are two sides, there should be maximum opportunity to defend themselves. I think that the judges will get more opportunities to defend themselves in front of a neutral probe body,” said the minister.
Supreme Court Bar Association secretary Mahbub Uddin Khokon said it is necessary to formulate an Act to keep transparency in the procedure of terminating the judges.
“I think the judges should not have any chamber of their son or daughter in their residence. And not just judges, every person in a constitutional post should submit their wealth statement. Then there will be no question about their transparency,” he said.
Law ministry sources said the law has been made according to the ‘Indian Judges Enquiry Act 1968’.
However, the jurists think most of the 1968 Act has become invalid in India itself. They expressed their concern about how effective the law will be if implemented in Bangladesh. – Agencies