Front Page
16th Amendment

Govt moves to SC for stay on HC verdict

The government yesterday filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the High Court verdict that scrapped the 16th constitutional amendment empowering parliament to impeach its judges for misconduct or incapacity.

The attorney general's office submitted the petition with the SC on behalf of the government.

The chamber judge of the Appellate Division of the SC may hold a hearing on the petition today, Deputy Attorney General Motaher Hossain Sazu told The Daily Star yesterday.

Citing the petition, he said the 16th amendment was part of the original constitution and it could not be a subject to any judicial review. Without considering this aspect, the HC illegally declared the 16th amendment void and unconstitutional, he said.

Due to the HC judgment a vacuum has been created in the constitution and to avoid the void, the HC judgement requires to be stayed, Sazu added.    

Meanwhile, Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday said the statements made by the lawmakers in the House on May 5 about the HC verdict were expressions of emotions.

There was no reason for the legislature and the judiciary to be at loggerheads due to their statements, he said while talking to reporters after a meeting.

Replying to a question, he said the HC verdict and the discussion in the parliament were not any threat to democracy.      

On May 5, a three member-special HC bench by majority view declared the 16th amendment to the constitution “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.

The HC came up with the verdict following a writ petition filed in November 2014 by nine lawyers challenging the amendment.

On May 5, three ministers and several treasury and opposition bench MPs lambasted the HC verdict.

Law Minister Anisul Huq, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu told the House that the HC verdict was illegal, unconstitutional and beyond the HC's jurisdiction.

Describing the HC verdict as “a conspiracy” against democracy and sovereign parliament, the ministers and lawmakers warned they would not tolerate any such plots.

They added that the 16th amendment could not be illegal or contradictory to the constitution as the same provision was mentioned in the original constitution of 1972.