Sunday, 26 June 2011

SC yet to get copy of reprinted Charter; Where have 500 copies gone?

Even after 136 days since the Constitution was reprinted, the charter’s guardian, the Supreme Court, is yet to get a copy of the new version. 
Lawyers and judges are wondering where have the 500 copies of the reprinted Constitution gone. 

Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Law Ministry reprinted 500 copies of the Constitution on February 10 at the Bangladesh Government (BG) Press in the light of the Supreme Court verdict on the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

Members of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) did not get any copy of the reprinted Constitution. Talking to The Independent, some lawmakers said they didn’t get it (reprinted Constitution). Supreme Court registrar, AKM Shamsul Islam, said his office is yet to receive a copy.

“I have asked law ministry officials to provide me with a copy of the reprinted Constitution. But they said they have no copy at the moment. I felt embarrassed when High Court judges sought a copy,” he said.

SCBA general secretary, Barrister Badruddoza Badol, said: “The bar didn’t get any copy of the reprinted Constitution.”
There is no basis for reprinting the Constitution in the light of the judgment and bypassing Parliament, he said. “The government hasn’t given the reprinted copy to the people because it wants to change the charter according to its wish,” he alleged, and added that the country was  passing through a period of worst-ever constitutional crisis.
Differences of opinion about the reprinted Constitution also remain among the judges of the High Court. A Supreme Court lawyer, Barrister Md Abdul Halim, has already stood before two benches of the HC seeking a suo motu rule upon the government to provide a reprinted copy of the Constitution.
Talking to The Independent, he said that following his prayer, a HC division bench, headed by Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury, asked him to collect a copy of the reprinted Constitution from the Attorney General’s office.
“Everything cannot be done by law,” said Halim quoting the judge.

However, another bench of the HC, headed by Justice Mohammad Anwarul Haque, expressed his inability to issue rule as per Article 102 of the Constitution.

“Then, I asked the judge, ‘under which Constitution (reprinted one or other one) your lordship is running this court (the bench)’, and Justice Haque showed me a ready Constitution, printed in 2008, and said, ‘Under this Constitution (this court is being run)’.”

“I don’t know whether the government reprinted the Constitution or not,” Halim said, quoting the HC judge.

On a writ petition, the High Court division bench on August 29, 2005 pronounced a verdict declaring the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution illegal, void and ultra vires to the Constitution. The Appellate Division on February 2 last year upheld the HC Verdict with some amendments and modifications. The government on February 10 this year reprinted 500 copies of the Constitution in line with the apex court’s verdict on the Fifth Amendment.
The Independent
The New Nation 

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