Bangladesh CJ resigns after graft allegations

Bangladesh CJ resigns after graft allegations

On October 2, the Chief Justice applied to President Md Abdul Hamid for a one-month leave that ended on November 1.

He left Bangladesh for Australia on October 13, to stay with his eldest daughter Suchana Sinha.

He has become the first top judge in Bangladesh to step down from his position. Sinha assumed office on January 17, 2015 as the country's 21st Chief Justice.

"I am the guardian of the judiciary, in the interest of the judiciary, I am leaving temporarily so that its image does not get hurt".

Row with the government and the higher judiciary started in July this year when the apex court declared as void the 16th constitutional amendment, scrapping Parliament's authority in impeaching SC judges. Justice Sinha had earlier drawn criticism more for the "observations" he made in the verdict than the judgment itself.

According to the apex court, Sinha faces 11 specific charges, including graft, money laundering and moral lapse, for which his colleagues in the Appellate Division refused to work with him.

Immediate reasons behind Justice Sinha's resignation could not be ascertained. "Against that backdrop, I said that his reassuming the charge of chief justice on return was a far cry".

A day after Sinha's departure, the Supreme Court in a rare statement described Sinha's statement as "misleading".

Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia-led main opposition outside parliament, BNP had put their weight behind Sinha while its standing Committee Member and former law minister Moudud Ahmed blamed the government for "forcing" him to quit.

"If anybody in the judiciary is involved in corruption or moral turpitude, that person should not be in the judiciary under any circumstances", he told reporters at his office when asked about his reaction to Justice Sinha's resignation. I donot know who will be the new chief justice.

The minister on Saturday told this correspondent that the appointment of the chief justice is an absolute prerogative of the president under the constitution.

His tenure was scheduled to end on Jan 31, 2018.

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