Law minister for code of conduct for judges

Staff Correspondent

Law minister Anisul Huq on Thursday said that it was now necessary to frame a code of conduct for the judges in the wake of recent public statements by judges on the judiciary and appearance of a retired judge to defend a war crimes convict.
‘I will request the chief justice to look into the matter,’ he said while responding to reporters’ queries after a meeting with the visiting European Parliament delegation.
Asked about the appearance of recently retired High Court judge Nozrul Islam Chowdhury in the appeal of Mir Quashem Ali against his death sentence on war crimes charges, the minister said if any retired judge wanted to practise as a lawyer, he should not enjoy any government facilities.
Anisul said that there was a time when none thought of framing such a code of conduct for the judges since they were most respectable people in the society.
‘But it is unfortunate that the situation is now different…This is why I think that a code of conduct is now necessary for the judges…We can discuss the issue with the chief justice in such a way so that none feels hurt,’ Anisul said.
A 14-point Code of the Conduct, framed by the Supreme Judicial Council headed by the then chief justice Latifur Rahman in May 2000, is now force.
In May 2015, chief justice SK Sinha formed a three-member committee led by him to update and modify the Code of Conduct for Supreme Court judges.
The committee included senior Appellate Division judges Md Abdul Wahhab Miah and Nazmun Ara Sultana.
Asked about his comment about the existing code of conduct, lawyer-turned minister Anisul said that there was no enforcement of the code of conduct as it stipulated no punishment for violation of the code.
The minister, however, expressed the need for immediate enactment of a law for the removal of the Supreme Court judges under the constitutional provision.
He made the remark a couple of days after former chief justice Mahmudul Amin Chowdhury said that the judiciary was now on the verge of collapse and urged lawyers to wage movement to save the judiciary and protect its independence.
Addressing a discussion on the independence of the judiciary and current situation on Tuesday, Justice Mahmudul Amin said that a recently retired Appellate Division judge was destroying the judiciary by making statements to the media against the chief justice, Surendra Kumar Sinha, who held the opinion that writing verdict after retirement was illegal.
Justice SK Sinha on Wednesday hoped that both sitting and retired judges, who were enjoying state facilities, would follow the norms and values of the judiciary.
The chief justice made the remarks as attorney general Mahbubey Alam drew the court’s attention stating that it was unethical that Justice Nozrul Islam, who retired on December 12, 2015, was appearing before the Appellate Division as a defence counsel for Mir Quashem while enjoying post-retirement facilities including government house, transport and security.
The 11-member European Parliament delegation led by Jean Lambert inquired the law minister about his government’s stand on the death penalty as they were campaigning against such provision.
They also asked about the recent murder of bloggers in the country.
‘I have informed them that the government is now considering excluding the provision of death penalty while making any new laws. But, the provision would remain unchanged in the existing laws,’ Anisul said.

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