Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, known as SK Sinha, the most senior judge of the Appellate Division, has been appointed as the 21st chief justice of the country.
He is the first Hindu to hold the top judicial post in the history of Bangladesh, Law Minister Anisul Huq told The Daily Star.
President Abdul Hamid made the appointment as per the constitution and will administer the oath of office to the new chief justice at his official residence Bangabhaban on January 17. The law ministry issued a gazette notification in this regard yesterday.
The appointment will come into effect on January 17, as the incumbent chief justice, Md Muzammel Hossain, will retire the day before.
During his period in the Appellate Division, Justice Sinha was a member of the apex court benches that delivered a number of landmark judgments, including those on the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the fifth, seventh and thirteenth amendments to the constitution.
Twelve killers of Bangabandhu and his family members had been convicted and sentenced to death by the Supreme Court.
An SC bench declared illegal the 5th amendment to the constitution, which legitimised the regimes of Khandaker Mushtaque Ahmed, Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem, and Maj Gen Ziaur Rahman between August 15, 1975 and April 9, 1979 after the assassination of Bangabandhu on August 15, 1975.
Another SC bench declared illegal the seventh amendment to the constitution, which endorsed the military rule of HM Ershad.
Justice Sinha was also in the Appellate Division bench that scrapped the 13th amendment made to introduce caretaker government to conduct parliamentary elections.
He is now a member of the bench that is dealing with the appeals in the cases filed for crimes against humanity committed during the country's Liberation War in 1971. Justice Sinha has been serving as chairman of Bangladesh Judicial Service Commission since 2011.
He will remain chief justice for a little over three years since his retirement is due in early 2018.
Justice Sinha obtained LLB, joined as an advocate of the district court, Sylhet in 1974 and practised there under the guidance of two renowned civil and criminal lawyers. He conducted sessions trial cases independently till the end of 1977.
He joined the High Court and the Appellate Division in 1978 and 1990. During this period, he worked with eminent lawyer SR Pal as his junior until he was promoted as judge of the High Court on October 24, 1999.
He was made judge of the Appellate Division on July 16, 2009.
Justice Sinha participated in the 3rd International Conference of the Chief Justices of the World held at Lucknow, India in 2002 as a representative of the chief justice of Bangladesh, in the judicial training programme for the senior judges of Bangladesh at Seoul, Korea in 2006 and judicial development programme in Korea, 2010.