The government has drafted a new set of guidelines for the appointment of High Court judges, specifying the academic qualifications a candidate requires. However, none of the prior recommendations of the Law Commission were adopted in the draft.
As per the constitution, an individual with at least 10 years of experience in legal practice or service can now be appointed as HC judge. But there is nothing mentioned about what academic qualifications the candidate has to have to qualify for the post.
The law ministry recently sent the draft to the Prime Minister's Office to forward it to the president for approval, a few law ministry officials told The Daily Star yesterday. A gazette notification will be issued on the guidelines after the president approves it.
The guidelines were prepared in the light of the constitutional provisions, the sources said.
But the Law Commission's suggestions on the matter, including appointment of legal experts, law professors and researchers as HC judges, were ignored. Traditionally lawyers and lower court judges are appointed to the post.
According to the proposed guidelines, a candidate has to have at least a second class or its equivalent grade in bachelor degree with honours in law from any recognised university or a second class or equivalent grade in master's degree in law or any other subject along with a bachelor degree in law with second class.
Those, who have studied abroad, must have at least a second class or its equivalent grade in bachelor degree in law from any university recognised by the Bangladesh Bar Council or must have completed the Bar at law.
To qualify for the post, one has to be a district and sessions judge or its equivalent official. He or she has to have positive records, portraying high morality in the whole service period.
Besides, a law professional has to have a record of conducting a number of cases independently at the Supreme Court to become an HC judge.
The Law Commission in August this year sent six recommendations to the law ministry. The suggestions included scrapping of the Article 98 of the constitution that provides for temporary appointment of additional HC judges and judges to the Appellate Division from the HC, as the provision is inconsistent with the spirit of an independent judiciary.