AL aims to amend SC observations

first_imgChief justice SK Sinha (L) and ruling party Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader. File photoRuling Awami League has initiated talks with the chief justice in a bid to remove ‘unwarranted’ observations in the 16th amendment annulment verdict, simultaneously keeping up political pressure by making the judgement controversial.The party is looking for ways and means on how the Supreme Court can drop certain observations in the verdict with its own initiative, according to sources close to the government, AL leaders and the court.To pursue the party’s goal, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader met chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha at his official residence on Saturday night. He stayed there for about two hours and had dinner together.According to AL leaders, Obaidul Quader apprised the party chief and also prime minister Sheikh Hasina of the matters over phone before meeting the chief justice. Quader went to Gonobhaban Sunday morning to brief the prime minister the contents of his discussion with the chief justice.However, neither of the sources disclosed the outcome of the discussion.The AL secretary just said the discussion with the chief justice would continue.The ruling party is trying to persuade the chief justice so that he himself removes certain portions of the observations from the verdict. The AL’s other choice is that it wants assurance of meeting its demand if a review petition is filed.Apart from continuing the negotiation, the party along with likeminded parties will continue criticism of the verdict. The AL-led 14 party alliances, at a discussion on Sunday criticised the observations of the verdict.Each component of the alliance decided to criticise the verdict in its own way.Alliance spokesperson Mohammad Nasim said after the meeting, “The 14-party alliance rejected the parts of the observations regarding legal parliament, liberation war and Bangabandhu. The people will not accept or pardon regarding what has been said on the liberation war and Bangabandhu. So it is urgent to review it (filing a review petition).”At a discussion near Maulana Bhasani Stadium on Sunday, Obaidul Quader himself said he met the chief justice, Surendra Kumar Sinha, to convey the party’s stance on the 16th amendment annulment verdict.Also the road transport and bridges minister, Quader said his talks with the chief justice were yet to be concluded.“I don’t want to make any remark before completing the discussion,” Obaidul added.AL central leaders have been making various comments centring the observations of the verdict.But Quader is blaming the arch rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party for its comments on the verdictIn such a context, political analysts said the ruling party is doing everything leaving scope for discussion.At an event titled ‘Meet the Press’ at Dhaka Reporters Unity, law minister Anisul Huq said he did not know anything about the meeting of chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha and AL general secretary Obaidul Quader.When asked National University vice-chancellor Harun-or-Rashid, a professor of political science, told Prothom Alo that some unexpected issues were brought in the 16th amendment verdict.“Such reactions might not have been witnessed, unless the issues were raised… It is expected that the crisis would be resolved through talks,” he said.He added that anyone except any undemocratic forces would welcome the efforts of resolving the crisis.A former professor of Dhaka University Mahbub Ullah said the government is saying it is respectful to the verdict of the court and it is also criticising the verdict.“The ministers and others also are meeting with the chief justice; such a double standard is not expected,” he said.He also pointed out that some ruling party leaders’ statement that they will face it politically may push the country towards a political crisis.Mahbub Ullah referred to former chief justice Mahmudul Amin Chowdhury’s statement that the verdict could still be amended.Meanwhile, a close aide of Obaidul Quader said that the two – Quader and Surendra Kumar Sinha – met each other on several occasions.According to ruling party insiders, the meeting was held as both of them were interested in it.They said AL is not much concerned about the cancellation of the 16th amendment that empowered parliament to remove judges.It is mainly concerned about the observations in the 16th amendment verdict.Party insiders also said former law minister Shafique Ahmed, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Yusuf Hossain Humayun, and AL presidium member Abdul Matin Khasru met the chief justice on 6 August after the 16th amendment verdict was delivered on 1 August.The AL leaders discussed with the CJ how to remove the ‘unwanted’ parts of the verdict. But, the discussion was not fruitful, they added.Afterwards, several ministers including the prime minister criticised the verdict in an unscheduled discussion in a cabinet meeting on 7 August. Since then, AL leaders have been criticising the verdict and the chief justice publicly.According to AL policymakers, the party has decided to file a review petition on the verdict in a suitable time.A central AL leader told Prothom Alo that they will continue to exert political pressure, keeping the door of negotiation open.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam and Imam Hossain.last_img

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