‘Five judges unwilling to conduct judicial activities with CJ’: SC

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Dhaka, October 14: Five Appellate Division judges had declined to conduct the judicial activities together with Chief Justice (CJ) Surendra Kumar Sinha as there are 11 specific allegations, including ‘moral turpitude and corruption’, against him, the Supreme Court said on Saturday.An SC statement signed by its Registrar General Syed Aminul Islam said there are ‘documentary evidence of the allegations’.

It also termed the statement issued by SK Sinha while leaving his residence for Australia on Thursday night confusing.

The statement said President Abdul Hamid invited five Appellate Division judges, excluding the Chief Justice, to Bangabhaban on September 30 last.

Four of the judges — Justice Abdul Wahhab Miah, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Justice Hasan Foez Siddique and Justice Mirza Hussain Haider — met the President. As Justice Muhammad Imman Ali was outside the country, he could not attend the programme.

At one stage of long discussion, the President handed over documentary proofs of 11 allegations against the Chief Justice to the judges, the statement said, adding that the allegations include siphoning off money abroad, financial irregularities, corruption and moral turpitude.

The five Appellate Division judges sat in a meeting on October 1 after the return of Justice Imman Ali and discussed in details the 11 allegations, it said.

They also decided to inform the Chief Justice of the allegations and not to conduct judicial activities sitting together with him if he failed to give satisfactory reply to the allegations.

As per the decision, the five judges met the Chief Justice at his Hare Road residence on the same day and discussed in details the allegations, the statement said, adding that after receiving no acceptable explanation or satisfactory reply, the five judges informed the Chief Justice that it would not be possible for them to conduct the judicial activities sitting in the same bench with him until the allegations are settled.

At one stage, the Chief Justice had clearly said he would step down and he would inform his final decision the following day, it said. “Later, as he sought a one-month leave to the President without informing the judges anything in this regard, the President granted his leave,” the statement said.

The President gave senior-most Appellate Division judge Justice Abdul Wahhab Miah the charge of the Chief Justice as per section 97 of the Constitution, the statement said.

Mentioning that the post of Chief Justice is an institution, it further said no statement was issued on behalf of the Supreme Court in the past to uphold the dignity of that post and the judiciary. “However, the above statement was issued being instructed following the evolving situation.”

Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha went to Australia on Friday night.

One of SK Sinha’s daughters lives in Australia.

The Chief Justice went on a one-month leave beginning on September 3 on health grounds. Later, he extended his leave until November 11.

Senior-most judge of the Appellate Division Justice Abdul Wahhab Miah was appointed acting Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice was widely criticised by ministers and ruling party leaders for his observations made in the verdict that had annulled the 16th amendment to the Constitution.

SK Sinha assumed office on January 17, 2015 as the country’s 21st Chief Justice. He will go on retirement on January 31 next.

Source: UNB