Bangladesh appoints new chief justice after about three months of vacancy

Bangladesh has appointed a chief justice after the office was vacant for about three months with a senior appellate judge performing the duties of the head of the judiciary.

Published : 2 Feb 2018, 08:42 AM
Updated : 2 Feb 2018, 09:01 PM

On Friday, the president’s office, the Bangabhaban, said Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain has been appointed as the 22nd chief justice of the country.

President Md Abdul Hamid will swear him in on Saturday, said the Bangabhaban spokesperson.

The chief justice’s office fell vacant after Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha resigned in November last year amid criticism by the ruling party over a top court verdict scrapping a constitutional amendment.

Sinha’s resignation came six weeks after he went on a leave in October, when the president instructed Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah, the most senior judge of the Appellate Division, to perform the chief justice’s functions.

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

The government later issued an order saying that he would act as chief justice until the end of Justice Sinha's leave or his return.

Hours after the appointment of the new chief justice, Justice Miah resigned apparently for not being chosen to be the top judge.

Justice Miah was set to retire on Nov 10 this year, while Justice Hossain in December 2021.

With the chief justice’s office being vacant, Law Minister Anisul Huq had been facing questions from the media over a new appointment, which he avoided saying it’s the ‘president’s jurisdiction’.

However, on Friday, Huq told the media that a new chief justice will be appointed shortly.

Within an hour, the Bangabhaban confirmed Justice Hossain's appointment as the new head of the judiciary.

“The oath-taking ceremony will take place on Saturday at 7pm,” Press Secretary Joynal Abedin told

Justice Abdul Wahhab Miah, the most senior judge of the Appellate Division, has been performing functions as the chief justice since early October after Justice Sinha went on a leave before resigning. File photo

Speculations were rife over the last few days that Justice Hossain will be made the chief justice rather than Justice Miah.

Speaking to the media on Friday, Law Minister Huq, however, said the government did not propose any names.

“And this is the president’s jurisdiction and I do not dare to intervene,” he said.

Justice Hossain was appointed an additional High Court judge in February 2001 when the Awami League was in office, two years after Justice Miah joined the top court.

Before the High Court appointment, Hossain was serving as a deputy attorney general from December 1999.

In 2003, when the BNP-Jamaat coalition was in office, Justice Hossain was made a permanent High Court judge. In 2011, he was elevated to the Appellate Division.

Born on Dec 31 1954, Hossain started practicing law in 1981 and two years later went on to practice in the High Court.