From the Editor-in-Chief: Welcoming the new Chief Justice

Enayetullah Khan
Thursday, February 8th, 2018
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It makes us happy that we finally have a new Chief Justice in Syed Mahmud Hossain. We have also been made aware that Justice Wahhab Miah, who has been acting Chief Justice since the resignation of Justice S.K. Sinha, has decided to retire. He has already submitted his resignation, obviously because he felt uncomfortable at being passed over for an individual junior to him in the judiciary. One understands the sentiments which went into Justice Wahhab Miah’s decision to walk away into the sunset. We wish him well. Meanwhile, we welcome Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain as he takes up his responsibilities as the nation’s 22nd CJ. It is the expectation of the country that under him the judiciary will maintain its independence and that no degree of interference from anywhere will be tolerated on his watch.

 

Given the ugliness which marked the departure of Justice S.K. Sinha from the office of CJ, we will expect that there will be no repeat of the story. By that we mean that the executive branch of the State will refrain from involving itself with the office of Chief Justice and will make sure, in its own interest and in the interest of the nation, that the judiciary stays free of any and all attempts to browbeat it into submission. We recall with sadness the blows which were thrown Justice Sinha’s way in relation to a judgment by the judiciary on a constitutional amendment. We recall too the inexplicable manner in which the former CJ, before he called it quits, was kept incommunicado. He only spoke on the day of his departure for abroad and that too for a few seconds. He let the country know that he was not ill, that he was in good health. That statement was a direct contradiction of a statement made by the Law Minister a few days earlier, to the effect that Justice Sinha was ill and that he had resigned on grounds of ailing health. It was bizarre watching a minister pronounce medical judgment on the Chief Justice and that too of a kind that raised more questions than they answered.

 

Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain has an onerous task on his hands. He will need to ensure that no attempts are made to undermine the judiciary; and he will be called upon to ensure that the distinctive features of the separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the State are maintained in the letter and spirit of the constitution. Under Justice Hossain, we expect a fresh and dynamic beginning for the judiciary. Finally, it is our hope that a balanced and harmonious relationship will be maintained and nurtured by all three branches of the State. That certainly is a necessity given the fraught times we inhabit in Bangladesh.

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