JS body chief's remark threat to judiciary | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 25, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 25, 2010

JS body chief's remark threat to judiciary

Former chief justice Mahmudul calls for right steps to protect it

Mahmudul Amin Choudhury

Former chief justice Mahmudul Amin Choudhury yesterday compared the judiciary with a "glasshouse" and said it could crumble at any moment if steps are not taken right now.
Referring to the remark made by the chairman of a parliamentary body on the chief justice's not swearing in two High Court judges, he said, "It is a threat to the judiciary."
He said: "The chairman at a press briefing said the chief justice disrespected the constitution and violated his own oath by not swearing in the two judges, and that is why necessary measures could be taken.
"It means he threatened the chief justice that if he administers the oath, he is safe and if he does not, they will send it to the Supreme Judicial Council or take other actions," he went on to say.
Chief of the parliamentary standing committee on law ministry Suranjit Sengupta on April 21 said the chief justice will breach his constitutional oath if he does not swear in the two judges.
Suranjit at a press briefing at the Jatiya Sangsad media centre also said the constitution of the country does not authorise the chief justice to evaluate judges appointed. The Supreme Judicial Council and other bodies are there for this purpose.
Former CJ Mahmudul Amin also came down on the law minister for saying at a function that it was injustice to the two judges when the notification of their appointment is still valid.
He also referred to a minister's threat to go to the Supreme Judicial Council for the comments of an HC judge in December, court boycott by all HC and Supreme Court judges in 2006 and putting people on remand on pressure. "The judiciary is now like a glasshouse that can collapse any moment," he said.
"It is not a positive sign. So, steps need to be taken immediately. Now it seems that the judiciary needs to be accountable to a separate body," he added, suggesting formation of judicial ombudsman for looking into court activities.
Justice Mahmudul was speaking at the inaugural session of a seminar styled "Accountability in parliamentary democracy: A Bangladesh perspective". Chief Justice Mohammed Fazlul Karim addressed the programme as the chief guest at CIRDAP auditorium in the city.
Monthly Legal Aid organised the seminar.
Justice Mahmudul criticised lawmakers for wasting time discussing worthless issues in parliament and hurling abusive language at opponents.
He said lawmakers should discuss the arrests and harassment of businessmen and students during the caretaker government in parliament.
He also criticised the attitude of the state counsels, saying they think everything will happen as per their expectations.
In his speech, Chief Justice Fazlul Karim said, "Now democracy has emerged as a popular system worldwide, but it stumbles again and again in our country and where democracy is under question, its accountability is a far cry."
He said in the guise of democracy, sometimes one-party rule, sometimes military rule and sometimes caretaker government system have been in place. In fact, the modern accountable system or democratic system is moving ahead slowly, he added.
The chief justice, however, observed, "Our democratic government is always trying to give the democratic system an institutional shape.
"Although we talk about democracy, we do not adopt its ideology and hesitate to shoulder minimum responsibility in an accountable way. Though we get our salary from people's taxes, we work as the employees of the government or a party, not as workers for the people," he said.
He stressed the need for changing the attitude and serving people.
The chief justice said it is not the time for blame game. He asked all to work jointly to make parliamentary democracy sustainable and suggested resolving all problems through discussion.
He also said to gain people's confidence judges have to be honest and must have courage in performing judicial function and demonstrate firm character.
Former caretaker government adviser AF Hassan Ariff also addressed the function, which was followed by a working session in which Justice Md Joynul Abedin presented a keynote paper.

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