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11 Nov 2017   05:56:06 PM   Saturday BdST A- A A+ Print this E-mail this

CJ Sinha sends in resignation from abroad

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 CJ Sinha sends in resignation from abroad

 

Bangladesh Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha sent in resignation from abroad about six weeks after he had gone on leave amid an imbroglio over the apex court’s verdict scrapping a crucial constitutional amendment.

Justice Sinha happens to be the first top judge in the country to have stepped down.

Reports quoting President`s office said Saturday a letter of resignation from Sinha, now abroad on leave which itself was cloaked in skepticism.

Sinha was appointed chief justice in January 2015, and his term was scheduled to end on Jan 31, 2018.

He came under fire from the ruling-party people after the Supreme Court scrapped the constitutional amendment that had vested power in parliament to sack higher-court judges.

Parliament passed the constitution`s 16th amendment in 2014, which empowered lawmakers to investigate and impeach top judges on grounds of “incapability” and “misconduct”.

The High Court had declared it unconstitutional in 2016 after a petition by lawyers. The state challenged the decision, but it was upheld by the Appellate Division this past July.

The verdict revived the Supreme Judicial Council which was introduced during BNP-founder general Ziaur Rahman`s regime to deal with cases involving judges and their removal.

The Supreme Court verdict drew harsh criticisms from the Awami League government, party leaders and lawmakers.

Ruling party leaders specifically flayed SK Sinha for his observations on Bangladesh`s politics, past dictatorships, Election Commission, corruption, governance and judiciary in the verdict.

The Awami League accused him of `belittling` Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in some of the observations.

Chief Justice Sinha sat in his office for the last time on Aug 24 before the annual vacation of the apex court started. The government announced his `sick` leave on Oct 3, a day before the vacation ended.

Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah became acting chief justice then and the government said in a circular that he would act as chief justice until the end of Justice Sinha`s leave or his return.

Justice Sinha left Bangladesh for Australia on Oct 13, leaving a statement that he was `not sick` and the criticism over the verdict `embarrassed` him.  
 
A day after his departure, the Supreme Court in a rare statement described Justice Sinha`s statement as `misleading`.
 
According to the Supreme Court statement, Justice Sinha faces 11 specific charges, including graft, money laundering and moral turpitude, for which his colleagues in the Appellate Division refused to work with him.

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