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Bangladesh Chief Justice S.K.Sinha faces 11 charges, leaves country on long leave, claims he’s physically fit, embarrassed by PM’s criticism

Dhaka, Oct. 14, 2017 :  The Chief Justice of Bangladesh Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, firts Hindu Chief Justice, who left the country on Friday on a long leave, faces 11 charges, including those pertaining to corruption and moral lapse.


A statement issued on Saturday, signed by the court’s Registrar General Syed Aminul Islam, contained the allegations against Mr. Sinha. The Supreme Court said that the colleagues of Mr. Sinha had refused to even work with him over the barrage of allegations.


Supreme Court statement disclosed that President Abdul Hamid had invited Mr. Sinha and five other appellate judges to a meeting on September 30, during which he handed over documents on 11 specific charges against him. They included allegations regarding “money laundering, financial misappropriation and moral lapses”.


“On Oct. 2, 2017, without informing the other judges, he filed an application for a one-month leave to the president, which was accepted,” it said.


Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha has gone abroad amid a tug of war over a constitutional amendment verdict, which has withdrawn Parliament’s authority to impeach judges of the higher judiciary in case of incapacity and misconduct.


Justice Sinha initially took a month’s leave, citing health reasons, but extended it for a few weeks later. He is learnt to have left Dhaka for Australia to meet his daughter.


According to Law Minister Anisul Huq, Justice Sinha desired to return on November 10 after visiting Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.


Justice Sinha, whose tenure would end on January 31 next year, is the lone chief justice who faced such a public scrutiny and criticism while in office.


Justice Abdul Wahhab Miah, senior-most judge of the Appellate Division, was appointed the acting Chief Justice.


Before leaving for the airport at 10:05pm, Justice Sinha addressed reporters gathered in front of the chief justice’s official residence in Dhaka’s Hare Road regarding his much-talked-about vacation plea. He said he was quite embarrassed about how a specific political quarter, including some ministers and the prime minister herself, criticised him over one of his rulings.


Bangladesh’s Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha on Friday evening claimed that he was not physically ill, completely contradicting a government narrative that he took a month-long leave on grounds of ill health.


Law Minister Anisul Huq on October 3 said that Justice Sinha had been suffering from several diseases, including cancer, and he had informed President Abdul Hamid about it in a letter.


“I am not fleeing. I am leaving temporarily. I will come back. My assumption is that the government has been misled [on the 16th Amendment verdict],” Sinha told reporters.


The judge also expressed his concern about the government overreach on the Supreme Court’s business.


“…I am a little disturbed too,” the statement reads. “The law minister [Anisul Huq] on Thursday quoted the acting chief justice, also the eldest member of the current Appellate Division, saying that the latter would bring necessary changes to the Supreme Court administration soon.


There is no precedence of an acting chief justice or the government interfering in a sitting chief justice’s administration. The acting chief judge is supposed to carry out daily routine tasks.


Meanwhile, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said he believes the charges, including money laundering and moral lapse, against Justice Sinha, “are based on evidence”. He also said Mr. Sinha rejoining the office after his return is a “far cry”.


Many of the ruling Awami League leaders demanded his resignation, accusing him of “belittling” the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the verdict observations.


News Courtesy: PIB | Hindu | DC | LE | LI | LO | IE | LL | PTI | ht | ET | UNI | DNA | FP |Jurist | Last updated: 06:30 pm
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