Justice Wahhab Miah resigns after Justice Mahmud Hossain is named chief justice

Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah has resigned having performed the duties of the chief justice for around four months.

Pias Talukderbdnews24.com
Published : 2 Feb 2018, 02:38 PM
Updated : 2 Feb 2018, 05:17 PM

The resignation of the most senior judge in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court came hours after Friday’s appointment of Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain as Bangladesh’s top judge.

Justice Miah called time on his career 10 months before his retirement apparently for not being picked up as the chief justice despite being the most senior judge of the Appellate Division.

Justice Miah, however, said he was resigning for some ‘unavoidable personal reason’ in the resignation letter sent to President Md Abdul Hamid, a copy of which is with bdnews24.com.

A personal officer of Justice Miah told bdnews24.com the letter was sent to the Bangabhaban in the evening.

Justice Miah was appointed an additional judge to the High Court Division in 1999 during the Awami League government and became judge of the same division two years later during the time of the BNP-led coalition government.

He was elevated to the Appellate Division on Feb 23, 2011 along with Justice Mahmud Hossain, who joined the High Court Division two years after Justice Miah was named to the division.

With Justice Miah calling it quits, Justice Hossain, who has three years before his retirement, is now the most senior among the four remaining appellate bench judges.

In the Appellate Division’s majority verdict cancelling the election-time caretaker government system, Justice Miah favoured retaining the constitutional provision.

He had also differed with his colleagues on the bench in the verdict sealing the death sentence of war criminal and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla.

Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain had served as a deputy attorney general prior to his appointment to High Court. File Photo

Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha is the first top judge in Bangladesh to have stepped down. File photo

The president made Justice Miah the acting head of the judiciary on Oct 3 when the then chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha went on a ‘sick leave’.

But, while leaving the country on Oct 13, Justice Sinha said he was ‘not sick’, but departing because he was ‘embarrassed’ and concerned over the independence of the judiciary.

The following day, the Supreme Court issued a rare statement, saying Justice Sinha’s colleagues in the Appellate Division had refused to work with him amid a barrage of allegations including graft and moral lapse against him.

He resigned on Nov 10 following criticism from the ruling Awami League leaders over his verdict cancelling the 16th constitutional amendment which restored parliament’s powers to sack top judges on grounds of  misconduct or incompetency.

When Justice Miah was performing the duties of chief justice after the resignation of Justice Sinha, the government settled the tug-of-war with the judiciary over the service rules for lower court judges.

Justice Sinha had alleged the government was trying to consolidate its authority over the judiciary by not following Supreme Court directives on a gazette notification clarifying the lower court judges’ service rules.

The Supreme Court, however, accepted the gazette with Justice Miah as the stand-in chief justice.

“The Appellate Division accepts the rules of discipline and conduct issued for lower court judges bearing in mind the supremacy of the Supreme Court,” the Appellate Division said in an order accepting the gazette.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher