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15 October, 2017 12:38:05 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 15 October, 2017 10:55:43 AM
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Judges unwilling to sit with CJ in same bench

Says SC registrar general in a statement
STAFF REPORTER
Judges unwilling to sit with CJ in same bench

Five Supreme Court (SC) judges recently expressed their dissent to sit at the same bench with Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha him as he failed to give any satisfactory clarification over the 11 allegations of corruption against him, according to a statement, signed by SC Registrar General Syed Aminul Islam, issued yesterday. The five judges expressed their dissent during a recent meeting with the chief justice, says the statement issued hours after the chief justice left Dhaka for Australia on about one month leave.

The SC statement “deemed necessary to clear the confusion created following CJ Sinha’s statement” given to journalists while leaving his official residence at Hare Road in the capital for Hazrat Shahjalal Int’l Airport on Friday night.

The SC said it did not issue any statement “only to uphold the dignity of the position of the chief justice, which itself is an institution”. According to the SC statement, the five judges, including acting Chief Justice Abdul Wahab Mia, had the meeting with the CJ on October 1. Earlier in the day, the judges had a meeting among themselves to discuss the issue at hand. “They agreed upon to inform the CJ about the graft allegations, which they were notified of by President M Abdul Hamid.” “They also came to a unanimous decision that it would not be possiblefor them to sit at the same Supreme Court bench with SK Sinha and continue trial proceedings in any case if the chief justice fails to come up with any satisfactory explanation about the graft allegations,” says the statement.  

Subsequently, the statement says, the five judges met the CJ at his official residence at 11:30am on October 1 and notified him about the allegations. “Despite having a lengthy meeting with the judges, the chief justice could not come up with any acceptable clarification over the graft allegations leveled against him.”

In such a scenario, the five judges clearly informed CJ Sinha that “it will not be possible for them to continue trial proceedings with SK Sinha sharing the same bench.”    

Hearing about the five judges’ stance, justice Sinha categorically told them that he would resign and he would pronounce his decision the following day, October 2.

However, on October 2, the chief justice applied to the president for a months’ leave and the leave was granted.  Later, the president appointed Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah, the senior most judge of the SC after SK Sinha, as the acting CJ as per Article 97 of the constitution.

Earlier, on September 30, President M Abdul Hamid invited five SC judges— Justice Wahhab  Miah, Justice Muhammad Imman Ali, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Justice Hasan Foez Siddique and Justice Mirza Hussain Haider —to Bangabhaban. Four of the five judges went to meet the president at Bangabhaban as Justice Muhammad Imman Ali was abroad at the time.

“At one stage of a lengthy meeting, the president handed some documents to the judges that consisted of 11 specific graft allegations against CJ Sinha,” says the SC registrar general’s statement.  

Meanwhile, CJ Sinha left Dhaka for Australia by a Singapore Airlines flight Friday midnight. One of his daughters lives in Australia.

The media also received a statement written on the letterhead of the chief justice with his signature on it. In the letter, he said he was completely in good health but was embarrassed at the criticisms aimed at him over a verdict.

Brushing aside all speculations about his ‘ill health’, CJ Sinha said he was ‘completely in good health’ and will return to the country after his leave.

“I am neither ill, nor fleeing. I am leaving the country temporarily and will return in due time,” he told reporters. This was the first time he spoke to the media since the government announced his ‘sick leave’. “I am completely in good health. But, I am really embarrassed at the way political quarters, lawyers and specially several honourable ministers and the prime minister personally criticised me centering a verdict,” the chief justice said in the statement.

“I strongly believe that a certain quarter in the government presented my verdict in a distorted manner before the prime minister and that’s why she (prime minister) ‘got hurt,’ which, I believe, will dissipate soon,” he stated.

IK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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