Parliament is sovereign and everything including the judiciary is accountable to it, Suranjit Sengupta, a parliamentary panel chief, said yesterday.
The senior Awami League lawmaker also said it is parliament that elects and can impeach the country's president who appoints the chief justice and other judges in consultation with the prime minister.
The law ministry is accountable to the parliamentary standing committee on it. So the judiciary too with regard to all its appointments is answerable to the parliamentary committee, he added.
Suranjit, chairman of the committee, made the observations at a press conference at the Jatiya Sangsad media centre.
Earlier on Monday, Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque at a meeting with the High Court judges said the Supreme Court would not send any representatives to any parliamentary bodies.
The judges at the meeting said the judiciary is an independent organ of the state and the SC is an independent institution as per the constitution.
So, they argued, the apex court is not obligated to respond to summons from a parliamentary body.
On November 29 last year, the House body on the law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry decided to ask the SC registrar to appear before it to clarify alleged irregularities in appointment of the district and sessions judge, Dhaka.
At the beginning of his briefing yesterday, Suranjit said he wanted to dispel the confusion created following Monday's discussion at the SC.
On summoning the SC registrar, he said, “We invite everyone with due respect to attend the committee's meeting.
“Now it is up to them [SC] if they will send any representatives to attend our meeting or not.”
Once, he added, the registrar voluntarily attended the committee's meeting on the bill for raising salaries of the Supreme Court and High Court judges.
On the judges' discussion Monday, Suranjit said, “ It was a mere administrative discussion. Neither the chief justice nor any other judge gave any verdict there. We did not hear anything about the discussion from the Supreme Court's spokesperson. It's you who have created confusion through your varying reports.”
In return for anonymity, a legal expert yesterday told The Daily Star that no parliament except the one in the United Kingdom is sovereign.
“Only the constitution of the republic is sovereign, as all the institutions including the Supreme Court and the Jatiya Sangsad are its products,” he added.
In no way is the SC accountable to parliament. Though the latter enacts laws, the apex court can always cancel any laws made against the constitution, noted the expert.
Requesting anonymity, another jurist last night told The Daily Star that the judiciary has two kinds of functions--judicial and administrative. It is not accountable to parliament with regard to its judicial functions. But when it comes to administrative functions, which involves expenditure, it is of course answerable to parliament.