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Wednesday, 30 July 2008

SC stays ruling

Staff Correspondent

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a High Court order to make permanent the appointment of ten judges, whose jobs were not confirmed during the previous BNP-led four party alliance government.

A five-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by chief justice MM Ruhul Amin, ordered a three-week stay after three separate appeals by the government and 19 judges. The appellants were asked to file regular appeals within the time.

Some 19 High Court judges filed an appeal with the Appellate Division chamber judge MA Matin on July 27, pointing out that the HC order would hamper the seniority of the incumbent judges. The government filed an appeal against the HC order on July 24.

The HC on July 17 ordered the government to make permanent the appointment of the ten judges, who served as additional judges but were not confirmed during the BNP-led government, despite the recommendations of the then chief justice.

A special HC bench issued the ruling on a writ petition filed in 2003 challenging the then government's decision.

According to the HC order, the period from when the ten judges left jobs to the dates of joining would be considered as 'special leave without pay' and they would enjoy seniority.

TH Khan, lawyer for the 19 judges, told reporters Tuesday that they would file a regular appeal after they received a copy of the HC order.

Dr Kamal Hossain, who stood for the 10 judges seeking permanent appointment, opined that it was a 100-year old custom to appoint judges in consultation with the chief justice. "It should be obeyed," he said.

The 19 judges who filed the appeal said the order interfered with the seniority of serving judges, and the 10 judges could not file a writ petition in favour of their own appointment.

They also argued that the HC also could not rule that it was not right not to appoint them despite the recommendation of the chief justice, as the fourth amendment of the constitution scrapped the provision of appointing judges based on the recommendations of the chief justice.

Abdus Salam, Mamtaz Uddin Ahmed, Shamsul Huda, Faruque Ahmed, Marji Ul Haque, Abdur Razzak, Hasan Faiz Siddiqui, AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik, Abdul Hye and Nizamul Haque Nasim were appointed to the High Court as additional judges during the Awami League regime.

But their jobs were not confirmed due to what they claimed were political reasons during the BNP-led government.

Advocate Idrisur Rahman filed a writ petition on Feb 4, 2003, on behalf of two of the judges challenging the legality of not awarding them permanent appointments.

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