By FutureLaw Desk

The High Court Division has declared the 16th Constitutional amendment as illegal, which established the Parliament`s power to remove the Supreme Court judges. A special bench of the High Court Division comprising of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury, Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal passed the order on today (May 5, 2016, Thursday).

The order was came for the writ petition (WP No 9989/2014) that challenged the validity of article 96(3) of the Constitution. Advocate Monjil Morshed filed the writ on November 5, 2014.

Upon primary hearings, the High Court issued a rule on the government asking to explain the legal basis for which the amendment shall not be declared unconstitutional. Hearings on the rule commenced on May 21, 2015. Five senior lawyers –Dr. Kamal Hossain, Barrister M Amirul Islam, Advocate Mahmudul Islam, Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud and Barrister Ajmalul Hossain QC gave their opinions on the matter as amici curiae, friends of court.

The 16th amendment of the Constitution abolished the provision of Supreme Judicial Council and paved the way for restoring the parliament’s authority to impeach the apex court’s judges for misconduct or incapacity (which was provided by the Constitution of 1972). The Amendment was passed in the parliament on September 17, 2014.

Earlier, the Supreme Court refused to respond to the draft of Bangladesh Supreme Court Judges (Investigation) Act, 2016 when it was sent for the Court’s opinion, since the matter was pending. However, the draft bill has been approved by the Cabinet which is intended to implement the powers of the Parliament to impeach Supreme Court Judges.