The chief justice left for Australia on October 13 night, issuing a statement to the press that he was not ill and had been embarrassed by the prime minister’s criticism against him
Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha is not above the law and can be brought to justice and jailed if any of the 11 major allegations against him are proven, legal experts said.
However, any such development will not affect the legal decisions he has made so far, they added.
Former Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) chairman Golam Rahman said: “There is no legal restriction in the commission’s law to investigate and file a case against the chief justice. As everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, the ACC can launch an investigation if it wants.”
When asked if the verdicts given by CJ Sinha, if proven guilty, will be considered for review, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said: “It is not that CJ Sinha delivered the verdicts on his own, so nothing like that will happen.”
Asked what would happen if any of his verdicts delivered from a 5-member bench is withdrawn and the remaining verdicts create a 2-2 tie, the attorney general replied: “it will be decided later.”
Appellate Division’s retired Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik echoed the former ACC chair and the attorney general.
“If proven guilty, he will be jailed. Nothing more,” he said.
On October 14, five judges of the Appellate Division declared that they cannot continue working with Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha because of 11 major allegations against him, including money laundering, financial scams, corruption and immoral behaviour.
A notice to this effect, signed by Registrar General of Supreme Court Syed Aminul Islam, titled “Statement of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh regarding the written statement given by Honorable Chief Justice SK Sinha before he went abroad on leave,” was published on the Supreme Court’s website on the same day.
The statement said that the written statement that the Chief Justice supplied to journalists on October 13 – the night before his departure to Australia on leave – was “confusing”, and the Supreme Court had issued this statement to clarify the matter.
It further said that on September 30, the president invited five judges of the Appellate Division, of whom only four could attend, to Bangabhaban. After a long discussion, the president handed over documentary evidence on the 11 specific and grave allegations against Chief Justice SK Sinha to the judges.
The five judges held a meeting on October 1 and after discussing the allegations thoroughly, decided to inform Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha. If he failed to provide satisfactory answers to the allegations, they decided they would not share the bench in court proceedings with him.
The same day, around 11:30am, they went to meet Sinha at his official residence in Ramna and had a long discussion.
The statement says the judges did not get satisfactory answers from the chief justice and told him they would not be able to take part in court proceedings with him until he is absolved of these allegations.
The chief justice left for Australia on October 13 night, issuing a statement to the press that he was not ill and had been embarrassed by the prime minister’s criticism against him.
This article was first published in Bangla Tribune.