The law ministry yesterday issued a circular on Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha's leave.
“The chief justice can now go abroad anytime,” Mahbuber Rahman Sarker, deputy secretary of the law ministry, told The Daily Star.
The ministry issued the circular after President Abdul Hamid on Wednesday gave his consent to the CJ's leaving the country. The CJ is now on a month's leave on health grounds.
According to the circular, Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah, the most senior judge of the Supreme Court after Justice Sinha, will carry out the CJ's duties till November 10 or till the CJ rejoins office.
Meanwhile, Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday said Justice Sinha would travel to Australia, Canada, the USA and the UK and he might fly abroad today.
Talking to reporters after attending a programme in the city's Hotel Sonargaon, he urged all not to do politics over the CJ's leave.
About the 16th amendment case, he said the government would file a petition with the SC seeking review of its verdict that upheld the High Court judgment in the case.
The amendment to the constitution had empowered parliament to remove SC judges for incapacity or misconduct, which was scrapped by the HC.
Justice Sinha faced sharp criticism from some senior ministers and Awami League leaders over the 16th amendment verdict. Some of them even demanded his resignation accusing him of undermining parliament and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
An SC bench, headed by Justice Sinha, scrapped the 16th amendment to the constitution.
The SC authorities on Tuesday sent a letter to the president informing him that the CJ would go abroad.
The letter, signed by Md Zakir Hossain, registrar of the Appellate Division of the SC, said the CJ may fly abroad on Friday or any nearest date and stay there till November 10, a top official at the court told this correspondent yesterday.
Earlier, the law minister said the CJ went on leave for treatment as he had cancer.
The BNP, however, alleged that the CJ was sent on forced leave.
SCBA STAGES DEMO
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), dominated by pro-BNP lawyers, yesterday staged demonstrations on its premises, protesting what it said “confinement of the chief justice”. SCBA President Zainul Abedin and Secretary AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon led the demonstrations.
On the other hand, pro-Awami League SCBA leaders, led by its Vice President Md Ozi Ullah, at a press conference in front of the Bar president's office alleged that Zainul and Mahbub were doing politics over the CJ's leave and that was damaging the peaceful environment in the court premises.
Lawyers were not accepting such activities of the SCBA president and secretary, Ozi Ullah said.
16TH AMENDMENT CASE
In its full verdict in the 16th amendment case released on August 1, the SC said the provision of Supreme Judicial Council for removal of SC judges has been reinstated in the constitution.
Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday said the government received the certified copy of the SC verdict from the court on Tuesday.
He spoke as the chief guest at a programme on the occasion of signing an agreement between the law ministry and International Finance Corporation on legislative impact assessment.
The minister said the government would file the review petition within 30 days. If the petition cannot be filed within the time, the government would explain the reasons for the delay to the apex court, he added.
According to SC rules, a review petition has to be filed within 30 days after receiving the certified copy of the full text of a verdict from the court.