JS body report on 16th Amendment Bill placed
The parliamentary standing committee report on the much-talked-about “The Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Bill, 2014” was placed in the Jatiya Sangsad on Sunday.
Committee Chairman Suranjit Sengupta placed the report with a proposal to pass it in an amended form.
Earlier, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Haque placed the bill in the House on September 7 with a proposal for amending different sections of Article 96 of the constitution regarding impeachment of the Supreme Court judges.
In the report, significant changes have been made in the preamble of the bill with recommendations to replace sections 2, 3,4,5,6,7 and 8 of the Article 96 of the constitution by sections 2, 3 and 4.
The new section (2) says no judges can be impeached without Presidential order in line with a parliament proposal having two-thirds majority of the House on the ground of proved misconduct and incapacity of the judges. The parliament under section (2) of Article 93 (A) would be able to control the procedure of investigation and proved misconduct and incapacity of the judges through law. Article 94 says any judges can resign through a letter with signature to the President.
According to the section 1 of the proposed Article 96, subject to the provisions of this article, a judge shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty-seven years.
The section 2 says a judge shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed pursuant to a resolution of Parliament supported by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total number of members of the House, on the ground of proved misconduct or incapacity.
According to section 3, parliament shall by law regulate the procedure in relation to a resolution under clause (2) and for investigation and proof of the misbehaviour or incapacity of a judge.
The section 4 says a judge may resign his office by sending a signed letter addressed to the President.
Besides, new statement on the objective of the bill was given in the parliamentary standing committee report instead of the objective of the placed bill.
The statement of the committee on the bill says in accordance with Article 7 and 11 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, all powers in the Republic belong to the people, and their exercise on behalf of the people shall be effected only under, and by the authority of, this constitution.
There was a provision in Article 96 of the 1972 constitution regarding impeachment of Supreme Court judges through the Presidential order by having two-thirds majority in parliament for proved misconduct and incapacity.
Later, during the presidential form of government, a new provision was incorporated in the constitution which stipulates that any judges of the Supreme Court may be impeached through a Presidential order. According to the aforesaid provision, no judge can be removed before giving him or her the scope of replying show cause notices mentioning actions against them on the ground of misconduct and incompetence.
But, in 1977 and 1978, a provision was incorporated in the constitution giving authority of impeachment of Supreme Court judges on the grounds of misconduct and incapacity to the President following recommendations of Supreme Judicial Council formed by the Chief Justice and two other senior judges of the Supreme Court. The provision was against the basic principle of the constitution and democratic spirit as well, the objective says.
In most of the democratic countries in the world, the principle of accountability of the judges of the superior court, like other organs of the state, lies with the parliament consisting of the elected representatives of the people.
Under this perspective, the confidence of people in the independent judicial system would be increased and transparency in this regard would be ensured with the enactment of the law, the objective of the bill said.