11 judges sent abroad without top court’s nod
The government has sent 11 lower court judges, now on deputation to different ministries, to Australia for training although the Supreme Court authorities earlier warned that judges will be charged with violation of discipline if they travel abroad without its approval.
A top law ministry official, talking on condition of anonymity, said the ministry on May 27 sent 11 judicial officers to Australia as a part of its decision to send 540 judges there for training on different issues, including cyber crimes, counterterrorism, climate change, forensic medicine and maritime boundary law.
The first batch will receive training at Western Sidney University for 12 weeks. The second batch of 17 officers will leave Dhaka on July 22 for four-week training and the third batch of another 15 will depart for Australia on August 5 for two-week training, he added.
The university will hand over certificates to the trained judges on August 19. Law Minister Anisul Huq and the vice chancellor of the university are scheduled to join the programme.
According to the law ministry official, the government will take steps about sending the rest of the 540 officers after the return of the 43 judges.
He expressed confidence that the training would enhance the judges' skills and competence which would have a very good impact on the judiciary.
The SC authorities on May 22 issued a circular imposing travel restriction on 17 judicial officials. It said the apex court was not consulted about sending the judges abroad.
The circular added that if the 17 travel to Australia without the apex court's permission, they will be charged with violation of discipline.
Under the SC's directives in the judgment of Masdar Hossain case, popularly known as the separation of judiciary from the executive branch, it is mandatory for the government to take the apex court's advice before sending lower court judges abroad, read the circular.
On May 25, the law ministry issued a statement saying that the SC's circular has no effectiveness as there is no need to take permission from it to send judicial officials, on deputation to different offices, abroad as per the president's decision.
The law ministry official last month told The Daily Star that the president issued an order last year in this regard.
The ministry concerned has to take permission from the SC about sending judicial officials, who work at courts as full time judge, abroad as per the presidential order, he added.
Contacted, SC Registrar General Syed Aminul Islam refused to make any comment on the issue.
LAW MINISTRY PROJECT
The law ministry last year took up a project named “Capacity Building of Law and Justice Division for Strengthening Subordinate Judiciary Management” to send judges to Australia for training.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council allocated Tk 40 crore for the project.
A memorandum of understanding between the law ministry and Western Sidney University was signed on March 28 in Dhaka for arranging the training.
Law and Justice Division Secretary ASSM Zahirul Haque and Vice Chancellor of Western Sidney University Barney Glover signed the MoU. The law minister and the Supreme Court registrar general were present, among others.
Sources at the law ministry said teachers of the university, Australian judges and expert officials would conduct training sessions on at least 25 subjects.