Antipathy may have clouded the 16th amendment verdict, says Law Commission chief

The top court's verdict and observations scrapping the 16th amendment may be an outcome of its antipathy towards the government and parliament, says the Law Commission chief.

Published : 19 August 2017, 09:24 AM
Updated : 19 August 2017, 06:41 PM

If that was the case then Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha has lost the eligibility to hold the office, says Justice ABM Khairul Haque.

Haque, who served as the chief justice from 2010 to 2011, made the remarks on Saturday while addressing a discussion in Dhaka.

In an interview with and two other news outlets on Thursday, he described the verdict as 'flawed' and the observation 'even more flawed'.

The 16th Amendment to the Constitution had restored parliament’s powers to impeach higher court justices.

Last year, the High Court declared the amendment ‘illegal’ and the decision was upheld on Jul 3 by the Appellate Division. The full verdict was finally released by the Supreme Court on Aug 1.

Chief Justice Sinha's observation on Bangladesh's politics, past dictatorships, election commission, corruption, governance and judiciary in the verdict has sparked sharp reactions.

On Saturday, Law Commission Chairman Haque told the discussion, "If a verdict reflects antipathy, then what is the consequence of that judgment? Think about it."

The top judge made observations that 'parliament is immature', 'democracy is immature' and 'parliament did not pay heed to our directives'. "If these observations are made out of antipathy, then where the judge stands?" he asked.

"I ask you to consider whether he is acting beyond the bounds of oath. I am just pointing it out. What will happen if he violates the oath? You know what may happen."

The top court's dismissal of the 16th constitutional amendment, which empowered parliament to remove judges for incapacity or misconduct, stirred reactions from various quarters. 
On Thursday, Justice Haque had called the verdict and its observations flawed. He had previously accused Chief Justice SK Sinha of having a ‘pre-conceived notion’ of the 16th amendment.
The BNP, however, hailed the verdict as historic, and criticised Haque's reaction.
“Dual governance is the best system,” said Haque. “After all, judges are not angels. They can also abuse power.”

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher