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16th amendment created scope to undermine judiciary: Dr Kamal

29 May 2017,Monday, 23:32



Eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain on Monday said the 16th amendment to the Constitution has created a scope to undermine the independence of judiciary and made it a vulnerable to interference.

“I support the High Court order that declared illegal the 16th amendment to the Constitution as it endangered the rule of law and created a chance to undermine the independence of the judiciary,” he said.

Dr Kamal made the observations while placing his deposition as amicus curiae on the 9th day of hearing on the 16th Amendment to the Constitution with a seven-member Appellate Division bench, led by Chief Justice SK Sinha.

Four other amici curiae -- Barrister MI Farooqui, Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan, former Attorney General AFM Hasan Arif and Barrister Ajmalul Hossain -- also placed their depositions before the SC on Monday.

With this, eight of the 12 amici curiae appointed by the SC have so far submitted their statements before the apex court.

Earlier, former Justice TH Khan, Barrister M Amir-ul Islam and Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud made the observations.

However, all the amici curiae, except Ajmalul Hossain, opposed the 16th amendment to the Constitution.

In his statement, Dr Kamal also urged the apex court to reject the 16th amendment as illegal and unconstitutional.

He said there is a Supreme Judicial Council in many countries, including the USA, Canada, the UK, Hong Kong, Germany, Sweden, Pakistan, Malaysia and Singapore, like Bangladesh to remove the Supreme Court judges.

On February 8, the SC appointed 12 senior jurists as amici curiae seeking their opinions over the legality of the amendment.

The four others include Barrister Rafiqul Haque, Barrister Shafique Ahmed, AJ Mohammad Ali and Fida M Kamal.

On September 17, 2014, the Jatiya Sangsad passed the 'Constitution (16th Amendment) Bill, 2014' without any opposition, empowering Parliament to impeach judges of the Supreme Court for their 'incapacity' or 'misconduct'.

Nine Supreme Court lawyers filed a writ petition with the High Court on November 5, 2014, questioning the validity of the amendment.

On May 5 last year, the HC declared the 16th Amendment to the Constitution illegal. The government on January 4 last filed an appeal challenging the HC decision.

The Constitution drafted in 1972 had given the MPs the power to impeach judges and decide their term in office. But after the Fourth Amendment in 1975, the power was vested with the President.

 

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