Lawyers and people affiliated with the judiciary have lauded the Supreme Court’s verdict of pronouncing the 16th amendment of the Constitution illegal. Praises have rushed forth, saying the groundbreaking verdict has opened new horizons for an independent judiciary.
According to the Bangla Tribune, writ petitioner Advocate Manzil Morshed told the media: “It is a historic decision regarding the independence of the judiciary. The law that gave the parliament the power to impeach judges has been declared illegal and scrapped as well.”
“Henceforth, only the Supreme Judicial Council now retains the power to impeach judges as per the 2014 law,” he added.
“When the full verdict was pronounced, the amicus curiae objected to several terms used, which were expunged.”
He further said: “Not only lawyers, but majority of the people believe that the judiciary could not function independently if the parliament had the power to impeach judges.”
When asked if the verdict would trigger conflicts between the parliament and the judiciary, Manzil responded: “As per the Constitution, the Appellate Division’s decision is the final if dispute arises regarding the court. There is no chance for a rebuttal here. This verdict is the final resolution to a dispute.”
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Sovereign parliament v sovereign state
Manzil was asked whether the verdict maintained the parliament’s sovereignty. He replied to clarify the issue, saying: “This is a misnomer. The amicus curiae have cleared it beyond dispute. Both the judiciary and the parliament are two functionary arms of the Constitution. If you look to Article 7, it states that the people are sovereign, and it is they who empower their representatives to carry out their functions.”
Zainul Abedin, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and adviser to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, called the verdict a glorious triumph for the judiciary.
He said: “If there is a rule of law in this country, there will be democracy. This verdict reflects the rights and expectations of the citizenry.”
“Citizens have faith in the Supreme Court. They believe that the Supreme Court is where they can get justice when other courts deny them. A rule of law is a prerequisite of democracy. Those who believe the in rule of law are happy with today’s verdict,” Zainul added.
Amicus curiae Barrister Amirul Islam said: “You heard all about the verdict. The court has rejected the appeal petition expunging few observations.”