Full judgment of 13th Amendment published

The remaining six judges sign the full verdict that rescinded the caretaker government provision about a year ago.

Published : 16 Sept 2012, 10:59 AM
Updated : 16 Sept 2012, 10:59 AM
Dhaka, Sep 16 (bdnews24.com)—The remaining six judges of the Supreme Court bench that declared the 13th constitutional amendment illegal signed the full verdict on Sunday night, almost a year and a half after the historic judgment rescinded the caretaker government provision.
The full copy of the verdict, reached by a majority decision, was signed around 10pm following a series of meetings among the judges throughout the day.
Former Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque and Supreme Court Registrar AKM Shamsul Islam confirmed bdnews24.com about the signing of the full verdict.
Justice Haque had signed the 342-page judgement in the Supreme Court on Thursday.
He was the top judge who headed the seven-strong bench that delivered the verdict on May 10, 2011. Justices Mahmud Hossain, Sinha and Mozammel Hossain agreed with him. Justices Wahab Miah and Sultana differed while Justice Iman Ali left the matter for Parliament to decide.
The judgement declared illegal the 15-year-old constitutional provision that mandated an elected government to transfer power to an unelected non-partisan caretaker administration to oversee a new parliamentary election on completion of its term.
In its short verdict, the apex court also observed that the rescinded system may be practised for another two parliamentary terms.
On June 30 last year, the Awami League-led Grand Alliance finally abolished the caretaker government system allowing general elections under elected partisan governments.
The court also asked Parliament to amend the Constitution to make sure that former Chief Justices or any other Supreme Court judges are not chosen as head of caretaker governments in case the system is kept for another two parliamentary elections.
This is the first time a verdict has been written in mixed languages – Bengali and English. Usually the court writes verdict in English. Justice Khairul Haque wrote the main part of the verdict in Bengali. Justice Ali wrote 150 pages of the verdict.
The main opposition BNP has been opposing the constitutional amendment claiming that the government partly implemented the verdict, but overlooked the other part on two elections under the caretakers.
The opposition insists that no election will be allowed under any partisan government. Though the caretaker government was introduced first in 1996, the elections taken place in 1990 were held under an interim government.
The BNP was forced by Awami League to introduce the caretaker government system through constitutional amendment for the first time. But the system came under scrutiny as the last military-backed caretaker government, which had a three-month mandate to hold elections, managed to linger on power for two years since 2007.
The High Court announced the caretaker government system legal after several people including Advocate M Salim Ullah challenged the 13th Amendment in 2004. They challenged the decision at the Appellate Division, drawing out the order.
Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher