Writing judgments after retirement illegal: CJ

21 January 2016 bdnews24.com

Chief Justice SK Sinha has expressed dissatisfaction over the inordinately long time some judges take to give verdicts.  He has insisted the judgement be completed within the judges' tenure in office."Some judges take extremely long to write their judgments. Some others keep writing their verdicts long after their retirement, a practice that is against the law and the Constitution," the chief justice said.Justice Sinha made the observations in a statement given on the completion of his first year at Bangladesh's highest judicial post.He was sworn in as the country's 21st chief justice on Jan 17, 2015. In a four-page statement, he has highlighted the various aspects of his term so far. He admitted his failure to convince his colleagues that it was possible to finish writing the judgments of resolved cases within a "reasonable" time. "A judge is considered to be an ordinary citizen after his retirement and the oath he takes also exhausts itself," the chief justice said, explaining the illegality involved in writing judgments after retirement."Court papers are official documents. A judge loses his authority to keep them, review them or prepare judgments and sign on them," he said. "I hope judges will refrain from such illegal practices in deference to the law," the chief justice said.Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury, who retired from the Appellate Division a few months back, had complained that the chief justice had withheld his pension for not completing the writing of his judgement before retirement. He said many earlier judges had followed a similar practice in the past and alleged that he was a victim of 'unfair treatment'. Justice Choudhury had even demanded Chief Justice Sinha's impeachment.Justice Sinha stressed the importance of the judiciary in a democracy and referred to several steps taken after he became the chief justice to speed up the judicial process.He has promised to take steps to solve problems that lawyers might face, and urged them to lodge complaints instead of going on strike. He expressed the hope that the mass media, as the 'Fourth Estate', would continue to make people aware of the rule of law.He also stressed greater use of information technology to streamline the judiciary. The chief justice's statement also spoke of online publication of the Supreme Court cause list, bails granted by the High Court, important verdicts of the Appellate Division and the High Court.He also mentioned an initiative to introduce e-court facilities in the High Court and lower courts.He also mentioned a day-care centre in the Supreme Court, modernisation of the apex court museum, enhanced medical facilities and the establishment of a legal aid office in the apex court.Chief Justice SK Sinha said the number of cases disposed had gone up across the judicial tiers in the past one year. He said 9,356 cases had been resolved between Jan 17 and Nov 30, 2015, in the Appellate Division, up from 5,789 the year before, registering a 162 percent increase in the disposal of cases in the Supreme Court.In the High Court, 33,380 cases had been resolved until November 2015, against 22,477 cases in 2014.Between January and September 2105, altogether 1,067,733 had been settled at the courts across Bangladesh. In 2014, the number was 997,652."The current backlog of cases can be reduced fast with the help of the government and with the cooperation of the judges, lawyers and people," Justice Sinha said in his statement.

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