he government has moved the Supreme Court for a review of the court’s decision scrapping the 16th constitutional amendment.
The amendment had empowered MPs to impeach Supreme Court judges, but the Appellate Division declared it illegal.
The verdict by the chief justice-led appeals bench reinstated the Supreme Judicial Council, which was introduced to the constitution by a military government.
Deputy Attorney General Ekramul Haque Tutul said the government filed the 908-page petition with the concerned Supreme Court wing on Sunday morning.
In a media briefing later on, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said the plea cites 94 grounds to back their argument for scrapping the Appellate Division’s verdict.
“We sought to cancel the irrelevant observations made in the verdict. Besides that, the fact that the court scrapped the amendment even before a law for removing top court judges was made appeared to us as immature. We have pleaded for the decision to be dismissed,” he said.
The government’s chief legal officer said they hope the court will review the verdict considering the grounds the state presented in its petition, and reinstate the amendment.
Parliament passed the constitution’s 16th amendment in 2014, which empowered legislators to investigate and sack top judges on grounds of incapability and misconduct.
The verdict revived the Supreme Judicial Council, a provision brought during the regime of military ruler and BNP founder Ziaur Rahman, to remove top court judges.
The Supreme Court published the full verdict on Aug 1, drawing harsh criticism from the Awami League government.
Ruling party leaders also attacked then Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha for his observations on Bangladesh’s politics, past dictatorships, the Election Commission, corruption, governance and the judiciary in the verdict.
The Awami League accused him of ‘belittling’ the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in some of the observations. Party chief and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also came down hard on him.
On Nov 10, Sinha sent his resignation to the president through the Bangladesh mission in Singapore.
In early October, attorney general Alam formed an 11-strong panel, setting in motion the process to file a review petition after the parliament passed a motion the previous month to initiate legal proceedings.
The top court is now on its winter vacation, which ends on Jan 2, after which the matter is expected to be heard.
The verdict scrapping the amendment was given by a seven-strong appeals bench led by Chief Justice Sinha.
Now, however, the Appellate Division has five justices after Justice Sinha’s resignation and Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana’s retirement earlier this year.
Attorney General Alam had said it was not possible for a bench which consists of fewer judges than the one that had judged the matter, to hear a petition for a review.
“I believe even if a review petition is moved, there’s no chance of a hearing being held until new judges are appointed,” he said while speaking to the media in late October.
Law Minister Anisul Huq, however, says that’s not the case.
Speaking to the media on Nov 23, he said, “As far as I know, no part of the Supreme Court rules says that a review petition has to be heard by seven judges. There have been instances where judges have retired, but the review plea was heard.”
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