Bangladesh court ends MPs’ power to sack judges

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Dhaka, Bangladesh - Bangladesh’s Supreme Court has scrapped par­lia­ment’s power to sack top judges, in a land­mark ver­dict that lawyers said on Wed­nes­day will bol­ster the in­de­pen­dence of the coun­try’s ju­di­ciary.

The coun­try’s top court re­stored a mil­i­tary rule-era pro­vi­sion, which al­lows only a Supreme Ju­di­cial Coun­cil, led by the chief jus­tice, to re­move judges found to have breached the ju­di­cial code of con­duct.

The full rul­ing re­leased on Tues­day was quickly hailed by lawyers as a cru­cial safe­guard for the free­dom of the Mus­lim­ma­jor­ity na­tion’s sec­u­lar ju­di­ciary.

Se­nior lawyer Syed Ah­sanul Karim said that be­cause of the ‘land­mark’ judg­ment, the ex­ec­u­tive ‘will have no dom­i­nant role over the ju­di­ciary’.

Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina brought the con­sti­tu­tional change al­low­ing par­lia­ment - con­trolled by her rul­ing Awami League party - to re­move top judges in Septem­ber 2014.

Karim said if the amend­ment had been left in place, it would have made top judges ‘sub­servient’ to the gov­ern­ment as they would have been un­der con­stant threat of re­moval.

In May last year, the High Court de­clared the amend­ment il­le­git­i­mate af­ter a lawyer filed a pub­lic in­ter­est chal­lenge.

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