The Supreme Court harshly criticised the government for seeking yet another time extension for issuing a gazette notification on the disciplinary and conduct rules for lower court judges.
A seven-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, expressed its annoyance on Monday when Attorney General Mahbubey Alam submitted a time petition seeking a four-week extension.
“Now it has become four weeks... In the future, the petition will seek eight weeks. We all know what will actually happen with the gazette,” the court said, referring to the government's time petition for two weeks last week.
On May 8, the apex court had granted a week's extension to the government when the attorney general pleaded for two weeks. On Monday, two more weeks were granted.
Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah, one of the bench members, said he was "embarrassed and ashamed" that the government was repeatedly asking for time extensions in this case.
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Mentioning that he along with the Chief Justice and Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana were going to retire at the end of this year, Justice Wahhab asked the attorney general to submit the gazette notification to the judges who would still be there after their retirement.
The Lower Judiciary was officially separated from the Executive in November 2007, but the disciplinary rules for lower court judges are still to be finalised.
On December 2, 1999, during a hearing of the Masdar Hossain case, the Supreme Court issued a 12-point directive for the lower court judges including the formulation of separate disciplinary rules.
The Ministry of Law submitted the draft of the code of conduct to the Supreme Court on May 7, 2015. The court sent the draft back to the ministry with some modifications and asked the government to finalise the code and issue a gazette notification.
On December 12 last year, the court asked the authorities concerned to issue the gazette by January 15 this year. Since then, the government has been repeatedly asking for time extensions, having failed to meet all the deadlines set by the top court.