Surprising indeed

logo munshigonjAttorney General’s Remark
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam has now joined others in insulting the opponents of the proposed constitutional amendment to empower parliament to impeach a Supreme Court judge on grounds of misbehaviour or incapacity.

While the AG has accused two eminent jurists of reversing their stance, the fact is it is he who has moved away from what he had said about the same issue three years back.

Joining a gathering of the pro-Awami League lawyers who staged a showdown on the SC premises on Thursday to counter the campaign by another group of lawyers against the proposed constitutional amendment, the AG accused Dr Kamal Hossain and Barrister Amir Ul Islam, two of the framers of the constitution, of changing their previous stance on parliament’s power to impeach SC judges.

But interestingly, the AG himself in 2011 was opposed to the empowerment of parliament to this effect. At a meeting of the parliamentary body for constitutional amendment on April 24, 2011, AG Mahbubey Alam along with some former chief justices and jurists strongly opposed the move to restore parliament’s said powers. His concern over it was more significant.

He had said: “All of my friends and my juniors who have become judges have already expressed their concern over the matter and many of them are in panic.”

The attorney general suggested retaining the current constitutional provision for the chief-justice-led Supreme Judicial Council to impeach an SC judge. He, however, suggested reforms to the SJC, according to the proceedings of the committee meeting.

But after three years, he not only changed his stance on the issue. On Thursday, he also strongly blasted eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain and Barrister Amir-Ul Islam for their criticism against the proposed constitutional amendment.

Dr Kamal, Barrister Amir and some more leading jurists, on Tuesday at a discussion organised by Bangladesh Ganotantrik Ainjibi Samity on the SC premises, also called for a dialogue between all concerned before the constitution is amended to empower parliament.

The attorney general at the pro-AL lawyers’ showdown blasted Kamal and Amir for what he said changing their stance on parliament’s impeachment powers it had in the constitution of 1972.

He said Kamal and Amir were among the framers of the 1972 constitution and they had empowered parliament with the authority. “Why did they now flip flop on their stance,” questioned the attorney general.

Barrister Amir on Tuesday, two days before the attorney general raised the question, explained the reasons for empowering parliament with the authority in 1972. In his view, the 1972 charter gave powers to parliament to remove judges because the SC was in a formative stage then.

The attorney general, however, did not explain why he has reversed his position by making the statement in support of the proposed constitutional amendment at the pro-AL lawyers’ showdown.

By joining the pro-AL lawyers’ gathering, he also brought down the constitutional office to the level of partisan politics. And he sided with partisan politics though he is supposed to act as the ex officio chairman of the Bangladesh Bar Council and is the leader of the entire Bar of the country.

In his authoritative book, “Constitutional Law of Bangladesh”, former attorney general Mahmudul Islam explained the significance of the functions of the attorney general, the highest law officer of the country.

He writes that the attorney general is a link between the executive and the judiciary. He has no specific role to play in the formation of the policies of the government. He is required to render opinions whenever asked, on important constitutional and legal issues.

In Mahmudul Islam’s view, it cannot be said that the office is a political one.

But the way Mahbubey Alam acted on Thursday turned his office into a political one, working in the interest of narrow partisan politics.

Shakhawat Liton and Ashutosh Sarkar
thedailystar