Thursday, 23 June 2011

Retd judges can practice law, work; SC restores Article 99

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ( June 21) further modified its earlier judgment on the Fifth Amendment to the constitution enabling retired judges of the High Court Division to pursue legal profession in the Appellate Division. 

Under the modification, the judges retired from the SC can hold judicial and quasi-judicial offices, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told journalists at his office after the order. 

Earlier, the retired judges were barred from doing so as per the Constitution reprinted by the Law Ministry on February 10 after the apex court declared the 5th amendment to the Constitution illegal, he said. 

A seven-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by its senior most judge Surandra Kumar Sinha passed the order, condoning the 1977 martial law proclamation order issued by the then Chief Martial Law Administrator . Mahbubey Alam said if the condonation was not given, then the works already done by the retired SC judges in different judicial or quasi-judicial institutions after the reprinting of the Constitution would have been questioned. On Monday, the chief state law officer on behalf of the government filed a review petition with the apex court seeking the modification for the second time. Though Mahbubey Alam on Monday applied for condoning the cases of only retired HC judges to practice before the Appellate Division, the bench on Tuesday morning asked him to include the cases of retired SC judges to hold judicial and quasi-judicial posts in the application. When the AG did so, the court condoned both the matters. In the original Constitution of 1972, the retired SC judges didn't have the opportunities to do practice. But they got that opportunity through the 1977 martial law percolation order. The proclamation was included in the Constitution by the Fifth Amendment passed in the Parliament in 1979. However, the SC declared the amendment, which legalised all acts of the 1975 to 1979 military period, illegal with some modifications and observations, condoning some acts and rules taken place during the period. Following a review petition, the apex court on May 11 in a short order condoned some other matters of the martial law administration till December 31, 2012. As per the judgement on the Fifth Amendment judgment, the Constitution was reprinted restoring the original Article 99 that barred the retired judges from the said opportunities. As a result, the retired judges, who have already started legal profession in the Appellate Division or joined the judicial or quasi-judicial posts, were facing problems in performing their duties. Their works was about to be stopped, AG Mahbubey Alam added. "We filed application to condone the matter of Article 99 and the court accepted our petition," Mahbubey Alam said. The court condoned the matter so that the judgments, delivered in the meantime by the different judicial and quasi-judicial institutions, didn't become controversial and questionable, he added. The condonaton will remain till December 31, 2012 if the Parliament didn't take any decision on the issue, Alam said. To a query about fate of the works already done by different judicial and quasi-judicial institutions before this condonation, he said, "today's condonation will be covered by May 11 short order delivered upon the first review petition." 
Source: New Nation 

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