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16th Amendment to Constitution illegal: Appellate Division

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Monday upheld a High Court order that declared illegal the 16th Amendment to the Constitution establishing Parliament’s authority to remove Supreme Court judges.

A seven-member Appellate Division bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice SK Sinha delivered the verdict in the morning.

Other members of the bench are Justice M Abdul Wahhab Miah, Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Justice Muhammad Imman Ali, Justice Hasan Foez Siddique and Justice Mirza Hussain Haider.Earlier June 1, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court concluded the hearing of the appeal filed by the government challenging the HC order.

Earlier on February 8, the SC appointed 12 senior jurists as amici curiae (friends of court) seeking their opinions over the legality of the 16th amendment.

They are TH Khan, Dr Kamal Hossain, Barrister Rafiqul Haque, Barrister M Amirul Islam, Barrister AF Hasan Arif, Barrister Shafique Ahmed, AJ Mohammad Ali, Barrister Rokonuddin, Fida M Kamal. Barrister Ajmalul Hossain, Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan and Barrister MI Farooqui.

On September 17, 2014, the Jatiya Sangsad passed the ‘Constitution (16th Amendment) Bill, 2014’ without any opposition, empowering Parliament to impeach judges of the Supreme Court for their ‘incapacity’ or ‘misconduct’.

Nine Supreme Court lawyers filed a writ petition with the High Court on November 5, 2014, questioning the validity of the amendment.

On May 5 last year, the HC declared the 16th Amendment to the Constitution illegal.

The government on January 4 last filed an appeal challenging the HC decision.

The Constitution drafted in 1972 had given the MPs the power to impeach judges and decide their term in office.
But after the Fourth Amendment in 1975, the power was vested with the President.

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