HC freezes Judicial Commission activities
Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Staff Correspondent

The High Court has ordered a three-month stay on the activities of the Supreme Judicial Commission formed to recommend judges' appointments to the higher courts.

It has also ordered the secretary to the law ministry and the registrar of the Supreme Court to explain why the ordinance for formation of the judicial commission should not be declared unconstitutional and cancelled.

A High Court bench of justices Syed Mahmud Hossain and Farid Ahmed issued the ruling Monday on a writ petition by lawyer Idrisur Rahman challenging the jurisdiction of the commission.

Counsel for the petitioner Dr Shahdeen Malik said of the High Court order: "The attempt of the executive branch to intervene in the process of judges' appointments has been barred; the independence of the Supreme Court has again been firmly established."

President Iajuddin Ahmed promulgated the Supreme Judicial Commission Ordinance on Mar 16. Malik said in court: "The nine-member commission has been formed to recommend the appointment of temporary and permanent judges to the High Court and to the Appellate Division.

"The work of the commission is unconstitutional. It is against Articles 7, 22, 94 and 111 of the Constitution." He added that in the nine-member commission only the chief justice and two senior judges of the Appellate Division are members of the judiciary. The remaining members are law minister, law secretary, attorney general, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and ruling party and opposition MPs.

Malik said: "There are five members whose status is below a High Court judge. How will they recommend appointment of High Court judges?" "Besides, the recommendations will go through the law ministry to the president, who is not bound to accept any of the recommendations."

"In this process, the selection made is outside the judiciary; the executive branch gets the upper hand." Depression concentrates into cyclone 'Nargis' Agency The deep depression over the southwest Bay of Bengal and adjoining southeast Bay moved slightly northwards, concentrated into a cyclonic storm "Nargis", a special weather bulletin issued early afternoon Monday said.

The depression was centred at 12 noon Monday about 1245 kms south west of Chittagong port, 1175 kms south west of Cox's Bazar port and 1130 kms south-southwest of Mongla Port.

It is likely to intensity further and move in a northerly direction. Maximum sustained wind speed within 54 kms of the storm centre is about 62 km per hour, rising to 88 km per hour in gusts/squalls.

The sea will remain rough over the north Bay and very rough near the system centre. Maritime ports of Chittagong, Cox's Bazar and Mongla have been asked to lower distant cautionary signal number 1 and hoist distant warning signal number 2 instead.

All fishing boats and trawlers plying in the north Bay and in deep sea have been asked to stay near the coast and proceed with caution until further order.

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