The government is likely to place in parliament on Sunday a constitutional amendment bill to restore the parliament's authority to impeach Supreme Court judges for misconduct or incapacity, paying no heed to the strong opposition to it.
The law ministry has already sent a copy of the bill to the Parliament Secretariat to make necessary preparation for its placement in the House, sources in the Secretariat said.
Since the cabinet approved the amendment proposal on August 18, eminent jurists, civil society personalities and different political parties have been urging the government not to scrap the existing constitutional provision that gives the impeachment power to the chief justice-led Supreme Judicial Council.
Law Minister Anisul Haque who will pilot the bill said the existing system was against article 7 of the constitution, according to which all powers of the state should belong to the people.
The constitution empowers parliament to impeach the president, Speaker and Deputy Speaker and even to bring an end to the government by passing a no-confidence motion, he said in a scripted statement tagged with the copy of the bill. Therefore, the parliament elected by the people should also have the power to impeach SC judges, he added.
According to the law minister, the 1972 constitution had empowered the House with the authority but the provision was abolished through the martial law proclamation in 1978 and then the Supreme Judicial Council was introduced.
However, the fact is that the Awami League-led government in early 1975 abolished the parliament's power to impeach judges through the fourth constitutional amendment and conferred the authority on the president. Through the fourth amendment the country switched to the presidential form of government.
During the martial law regime, Gen Ziaur Rahman amended the constitution through a proclamation and introduced the Supreme Judicial Council to strip the president of the impeachment power.
Meanwhile, the ruling party chief whip ASM Feroz convened an emergency meeting after the parliament session on Sunday at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, requesting all Awami League MPs to attend it, according to a press release by the Parliament Secretariat.
The meeting will discuss, among other issues, the 16th amendment seeking to restore the parliament's authority to impeach SC judges and the latest political situation, a number of AL MPs told The Daily Star.