The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has accepted the gazette notification on the disciplinary rules for lower court judges.
A five-member Appellate Division bench, led by acting chief justice Abdul Wahhab Miah, granted the disciplinary rules on Wednesday, noting that the government issued the gazette giving primacy to the opinions of the apex court at every stage.
Some media outlets are making unnecessary comments on gazette notification without reading it, the apex court observed.
Earlier, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam read out the gazette on judges’ disciplinary rules before the Appellate Division bench.
The Law Ministry, after a number of deadlines, issued the gazette notification on December 11, 2017 and then submitted it to the apex court.
The rule titled “Bangladesh Judicial Service (Discipline) Rules 2017” says that the president will make necessary decisions in consultation with the Supreme Court, and the Law Ministry will implement those.
The president will appoint an investigation officer (IO) or form a three-member committee to conduct probe into any allegation brought against a lower court judge under the disciplinary rules.
During Wednesday's hearing, acting chief justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah expressed his views on the disciplinary rules as it contains the term in consultation with the Supreme Court.
Addressing Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, he said: “Look, the rules contain the provision of consultation with the Supreme Court in every phase. But some people are saying that all has gone wrong.”
After the attorney general, the court asked senior lawyer Barrister M Amir-ul Islam for hearing. Before starting his submission, a frustrated Amir-ul Islam said: “It is a matter of concern that everything has gone under the ministry's control.”
However, the court assured him that the Supreme Court has not delegated any of its authority to the Law Ministry.
A number of prominent jurists have been criticizing the rules since the gazette notification has been published, saying that the lower court has been made subordinate to the executive and Supreme Court's authority has been curtailed.
On January 1, in a statement six leading jurists said that the lower courts have been made subordinate, protection of the independence of the judiciary has been undermined and the separation of power has been violated by the rules.
The jurists are: Rafique-ul Huq, Dr Kamal Hossain, M Amir-Ul Islam, Mainul Hosein, Fida M Kamal and AF Hasan Ariff. The statement was issued on the occasion of Supreme Court Day.
The lower judiciary was officially separated in November 2007 but the disciplinary rules for lower court judges had not been formulated.
On December 2, 1999, the Supreme Court in the Masdar Hossain case issued a seven-point directive, including formulating separate disciplinary rules, for the lower court judges.
The Law Ministry on May 7, 2015 sent a draft of the rules to the Supreme Court which was similar to the Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules 1985.