SC finds 16th Amendment unconstitutional | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

SC finds 16th Amendment unconstitutional


Dhaka – The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the High Court verdict that declared illegal the 16th amendment to the Constitution.The seven-member full bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha unanimously upheld the High Court verdict dismissing the appeal filed on behalf of the state. The Chief Justice of Bangladesh pronounced the decision establishing the Parliament’s power to remove Supreme Court judges. Announcing the summary of the apex court verdict the Chief Justice said they rejected the appeal with some findings, hearing the arguments for and against the state move during more than 11 days.
Nine Supreme Court lawyers filed a writ petition with High Court Division on November 5, 2014, questioning the validity of the 16 th amendment to the Constitution. In a major ruling on May 5, last year, the High Court declared the 16th Amendment illegal and contradictory to the Constitution. Following the verdict, the state on January 4, this year, filed the appeal with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court challenging the High Court decision.
Later, on June 1, the Appellate Division ended the hearing on the appeal and declared illegal the 16th amendment to the Constitution. The Appellate Division on February 8, appointed 12 senior lawyers as amici curiae (friends of court) seeking their opinions about the legality of the 16 th amendment to dispose of the appeal filed against the High Court order.
The 12 senior lawyers are former justice TH Khan, Dr Kamal Hossain, Barrister M Amir-ul Islam, Barrister Rafiqul Haque, Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud, former attorney general AJ Mohammad Ali, Barrister Fida M Kamal, Barrister Ajmalul Hossain QC, Barrister Shafique Ahmed, former attorney general AF Hasan Arif, and senior advocates MI Farooki and Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan.
However, Barrister Rafiqul Hasque and Barrister Shafique Ahmed did not make any submission before the court on the matter.
Amicus Currie Barrister Ajmalul Hossain QC made comments supporting the amendment while other nine Amicus Currie were very much critical about the 16th amendment before the court. The ten Amicus Currie placed several relevant arguments, facts, decisions and documents in support of their respective stances.
On May 5 last year, the HC declared the 16th Amendment to the Constitution illegal. The government on January 4 last filed an appeal challenging the HC decision.
The constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh passed in 1972 had given the MPs the power to impeach the judges of the Supreme Court and decide their term in office. But in 1975, through the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution the power given to the President of the country. Later, the provision of Supreme Judicial Council was included in the Constitution.
On September 17, 2014, the Jatiya Sangsad passed the Constitution (16 th) Amendment Bill 2014 without any opposition, empowering the Parliament to impeach the judges of the Supreme Court for their ‘incapacity’ or ‘misconduct’. – Special Correspondent


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