The eight member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha also fixed that date for further hearing and orders while holding a hearing yesterday on the Masdar Hossain case, widely known as the judiciary separation case.
Later Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, who represented the state at the hearing, told reporters that they have informed the court about Sunday’s Law Ministry notification which says that the president has decided that there is no need for a gazette notification on the matter.
“We prayed for two months’ time before the court to settle the matter. The court granted time till January 15,” he said.
In the earlier order, the Apex court had asked the government to issue the gazette notification and place it before the court Monday. Besides, it asked the two secretaries of Law Ministry – ASSM Zahirul Haque and Mohammad Shahidul Haque to appear before the bench.
The two secretaries appeared before the court yesterday morning.
But the Sunday’s Law Ministry notification said that there is no need to publish a gazette notification on the Disciplinary Rules for the Judicial Officers and Judicial Officers Conduct Rules.
During the hearing, the court asked the attorney general why the two secretaries have not brought the gazette notification. As Mahbubey mentioned the Law Ministry’s notification, the court asked him to read it out.
In response the court expressed dissatisfaction saying the court had delivered 12-point directives in the Masdar Hossain case but those were not fully implemented in the last 14 years. The government sent a draft to the court and the court made some corrections but the final gazette is yet to be published.
The court said the whole thing was conveying a wrong message to the public and lawyers that the court was behind all of these, which is not correct. The court just made some changes to the draft and asked to publish the final gazette.
The court said, “Do not misunderstand us. This court handles 80-90% of government-related cases. We are not government’s antagonists.”
The apex court said the president might have been misinformed about the matter of the gazette. The Law Ministry officials could not have done this if they had the minimum knowledge. The court criticised the government for seeking time from the court on several occasions to issue the gazette and then saying there is no need for a gazette.
Law and Justice Division Secretary ASSM Zahirul Haque told the court they prepared the letter as per the direction of the President’s Office.
While the court said it did not want any confrontation with the government, it pointed out that in the parliamentary system the president had no power except appointing the prime minister and chief justice.
“The president acted as the government recommended in the file.”
The court said that the gazette is necessary for the independence of the judiciary. The control of the judiciary needs to be in the Supreme Court’s hand and it cannot be compromised.
The court asked to issue the gazette by January 15. It said there was no need to place the rules before parliament or cabinet. The government can finalise the rules through a notification.