The book written by former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha from abroad has tarnished the image of the judiciary, the attorney general has said. “Why were other judges of the Appellate Division reluctant to sit with the chief justice at that time? If this is made public, it will spread more stench and further damage the judiciary,” Mahbubey Alam told reporters at his office in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. “It’s very unacceptable to make aspersions on those who presided over court proceedings with him during his tenure as the chief justice. In doing so, he is destroying the judiciary is image."
In his book titled “A Broken Dream: Rule of Law, Human Rights and Democracy” which is available on Amazon, Justice Sinha said he resigned in the face of intimidation and threats.
“I had the opportunity and honour to observe this transformation and the hindrances as a participant of the Bangladeshi judiciary since 1974 -- rising from a practitioner at a lower court in the north-eastern district of Sylhet to the highest judicial position of the country, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But, in 2017, after delivering a historic verdict in favour of the independence of judiciary, I was forced to resign and exiled by the current government,” Sinha wrote.
“It was unprecedented in the history of the judiciary.”
Sinha narrated a series of “unfortunate and unprecedented events”, which led to the tension between the executive and the judiciary and “subsequent improper action against me”.
The tension began on Sept 17, 2014 when the Bangladesh parliament amended the constitution to provide power of impeaching judges to the members of parliament.
“The 16th Amendment of the Constitution deleted the provision of removing Judges from office through a highly powerful committee of peers called the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC). The SJC, as stipulated in the constitution, also allowed the accused to have self-defence. Most importantly, the process was meant to protect the judiciary from being subjected to political vagaries and serving political leaders than the citizens.”
On May 5, 2016, a special High Court bench declared the amendment illegal and unconstitutional.
“Soon after the verdict, the MPs blasted judges for nullifying their legislation and began displaying sheer disrespect to the judiciary. However, the state party opted for an appeal which was heard by a seven-member full appellate bench. It was incumbent on me to head the Bench.”
On July 3, 2017, the bench unanimously rejected the appeal upholding the High Court verdict.
Following the appellate decision, on Sept 13, 2017, the parliament passed a resolution calling for legal steps to nullify the Supreme Court verdict.
Before leaving Bangladesh on Oct 13, 2017 Justice Sinha said he was not sick, but embarrassed at the criticism by the ruling Awami League. Before leaving Bangladesh on Oct 13, 2017 Justice SK Sinha said he was not sick, but embarrassed at the criticism by the ruling Awami League.
Justice Sinha would have retired on Jan 31, 2018, but he had to step down 81 days before the end of his term.