Govt files petition, seeks stay on HC verdict over 16th amendment

Dhaka – The government filed a petition on Sunday to the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on the High Court order that had declared the 16th constitutional amendment illegal and contradictory to the constitution.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said the state filed the petition to the bench concerned of the Supreme Court. The Chamber Judge court of the Appellate Division will hear the petition on Monday.
On May 5, the High Court declared the 16th amendment to the Constitution establishing parliament’s power to remove Supreme Court judges illegal and contradictory to the national charter.
A three-member special HC bench, headed by Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury, passed the order following a writ petition.
In its order, the court said the amendment is contrary to the provisions enshrined in the Constitution for the freedom of the judiciary.
It said the provision to remove judges by parliament is an accident in the history although the law exists in several countries of the world. In most of the Commonwealth countries, judges are not removed by parliaments.
Noting that parliament members cannot go against the party decision as per the section 70 of the Constitution and they have to vote in favour of the party even if they do not approve of the matter, the court said judges will have to wait for MPs’ mercy if the 16th amendment remains in force.
Nine Supreme Court lawyers filed the writ petition with the High Court on November 5, 2014, praying to consider the 16th Amendment as illegal and unconstitutional.
The petition also sought an order staying the operation of the 16th Amendment and also against enacting any law in a bid to remove the Supreme Court judges, as per this amendment, until disposal of the rule.
The hearing on the rule began on May 21 last year.
Four eminent lawyers — Dr Kamal Hossain, Barrister M Amir-Ul Islam, Barrister Rokon Uddin Mahmud and Barrister Ajmalul Hossain QC — made their depositions to the court as amici curiae.