Bangladesh passes law to impeach judges

Controversial amendment allows parliament to impeach Supreme Court judges on grounds of "misbehavior or incapacity".

    Bangladesh passes law to impeach judges
    Hasina has criticised two judges for a ruling calling for the arrest of law-enforcement officials [AFP]

    Bangladesh's parliament has approved legislation amending the country's constitution to allow the impeachment of Supreme Court judges.

    The amendment passed unanimously late on Wednesday in a voice vote of 327-0, with support coming from the ruling Awami League.

    Critics of the amendment, including senior jurists, said it was a thinly veiled way for the ruling party to keep the judiciary under control.

    But Anisul Hoque, the law minister who proposed the change, said the amendment allowed parliament to impeach judges on grounds of "misbehavior or incapacity".

    Previously a council of senior judges led by the chief justice was assigned to deal with any case of misconduct by judges.

    Bangladesh's judiciary, often riddled with corruption, enjoys relative freedom but the appointment of senior judges is often influenced by authorities.

    Major opposition parties opposed the government's move to amend the constitution, saying authorities will systematically influence the judiciary, especially when it comes to politically sensitive cases.

    Hoque has denied the allegation and said the changes would not undermine the judiciary's independence.

    Clashes between the government and judiciary are rare in Bangladesh, although recently Sheikh Hasina, prime minister, criticised two judges for a ruling that asked authorities to arrest members of an elite law enforcement agency, to face murder charges in the death of seven people in a single incident.

    Hasina's Awami League has three-fourths of the seats in the parliament. A two-thirds majority is needed to pass any bill.



    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    North Korea's nuclear weapons: Here is what we know

    North Korea's nuclear weapons