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Government unhappy with 16th Amendment verdict

  • Published at 01:59 pm July 3rd, 2017
  • Last updated at 10:23 pm July 3rd, 2017
Government unhappy with 16th Amendment verdict
Government stakeholders on Monday expressed dismay at the Supreme Court's decision to scrap the 16th Amendment to the constitution, saying the verdict would create a legal void. In the morning, the Appellate Division unanimously declared the amendment, which empowered parliament to impeach Supreme Court judges, illegal. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said he was frustrated and upset at the decision. “The Supreme Judicial Council was scrapped by parliament. It cannot be reinstated automatically. So this creates a vacuum,” he said. “We will have a discussion with the Ministry of Law to see if a review plea can be filed later,” he added. “I am very sad as the 1972 original constitution could not be restored,” Mahbubey said. “The court cannot do parliament's work,” he said. The government did not seek to change, rather restore the original constitution through this amendment, the state counsel said.
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“Military dictator Ziaur Rahman introduced this council with an illegal change to the constitution.” Law Minister Anisul Huq told reporters at his office that the government would wait for the Supreme Court to release the full verdict to determine the next course of action. In reply to a question, he said the amendment was modelled following other democratic nations, all of whom give parliaments the power to impeach judges. Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon said: “The court cannot change a sovereign parliament’s decision. We will definitely discuss it in the ongoing parliamentary session.” Awami League Presidium member Dr Abdur Razzak asked why the president could be impeached by parliament but not the Chief Justice or other justices. “I do not think the Supreme Court has issued the right judgement. We will talk about this in parliament,” he said. “The courts and the lawyers do not represent the nation in the manner that our parliament does,” he remarked. “In most countries in the world, parliament is the house of the nation. Our constitution also makes everyone accountable to the parliament. Everyone must answer to parliament and it must have the supreme power,” the former minister said.
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“This was the core spirit of the 1972 constitution. In India, the courts are accountable to the parliament.” In the United States, the Senate needs a simple majority, but the 16th Amendment requires two-thirds majority for impeachment. “That means the parliament cannot just do this against anybody,” Razzak explained. He said the judiciary's remarks against parliament were unwarranted. “They said the parliamentarians are not honest, they are corrupt and unprincipled,” he added. The parliamentarian remarked that all politicians should not be painted with the same brush because some were corrupt. “This verdict is against the empowerment of the people and the spirit of the constitution,” said Mahbubul Alam Hanif, joint general secretary of the Awami League. He said the Awami League did not think that this law would create misunderstandings between the government and the judiciary.