Glimpses at the SC decisions of 2016

Staff Correspondent | Published: 20:39 pm, 06 Jan 2017, Fri

Glimpses at the SC decisions of 2016

January: HCD's order to halt slum eviction  In response to a writ petition filed by Ain O Salish Kendra, the High Court Division on 21 January directed the government to halt the eviction at Dhaka's Kallyanpur slum that houses about 40,000 low-income dwellers. Apart from setting a three-month stay order on the drive, the Court also warned the government not to harass or arrest any slum dwellers without any specific allegation. February: Launch of HCD's online cause list On February 1, the age-old printed cause list of the High Court Division (a roll of cases to be heard by the Court any day) made available online by the Supreme Court. The High Court judges now make serial numbers for hearing of the cases and the list is posted on the Supreme Court website www.supremecourt.gov.bd after 8:00pm before the day of the hearing. March: Islam survived as a state religion On 28 March, the High Court Division rejected a writ petition challenging the constitutionality of Islam as a state religion, on the ground that the petitioners (fifteen distinguished citizens) had no locus standi (meaning jurisdiction) to move such a petition.  April: HCD's directives on LLB (Hons.) programme  On 13 April, the High Court Division declared the activities of Darul Ihsan University illegal for not complying with the laws. The Court also specifically delivered a set of directives regarding the LLB (Hons.) programme run by private universities. May: HCD declared the 16th constitutional amendment unconstitutional  On 5 May, the High Court scrapped the 16th constitutional amendment that restored the parliament's power to remove Supreme Court Judges. The Court considered the 16th amendment illegal, unconstitutional and against the principles of the separation of state powers and the independence of the judiciary. June: HCD asked tanneries to pay fine until relocation  On 16 June, the High Court Division ordered the owners of 154 tanneries in the capital's Hazaribagh to pay Tk 50,000 each a day in compensation for damaging the environment until they relocate their factories to Savar Tannery Industrial Estate. July: HCD confirmed death penalty for 6 JMB militants On 28 july, the High Court Division confirmed the death sentences against six militants for carrying out a suicide bomb attack at Gazipur Bar Association office over 10 years ago that killed nine people and injured around 80. August: SC's order in favour of Buriganga river  On 29 August, the Supreme Court ordered the Department of Environment to collect a fine of Tk 1.04 crore from 14 industries for polluting the Buriganga river in Shyampur area of Dhaka. The five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order after hearing a petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh. September: HCD's order to recognise guerrillas as freedom fighters The High Court Division on September 8 directed the government to recognise 2,367 members of the guerrilla force and also ordered to give them proper status, dignity and facilities of the freedom fighters. October: Schoolboy acquitted from the charge of online threat to MP On 18 October, the High Court declared illegal a mobile court verdict that sentenced Sabbir Shikder, a school student of Tangail, two years' jail last month for threatening Awami League MP Anupam Shahjahan. The Court also directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Tangail to launch a judicial inquiry on the basis of the statement given by Sabbir before it on September 27. November: 3 medical colleges fined by the SC The Supreme Court on 27 November fined three private medical colleges Tk 1 crore each for admitting candidates, who did not meet requirements set by the health ministry, in admission tests. The medical colleges are: Mainamoti Medical College, BGC Trust Medical College and Southern Medical College. The apex court ordered the colleges to give half of the fine to Chittagong University (CU), which controls their professional examinations, and to deposit the rest in the name of two charitable organisations by two weeks.  December: SC ordered the law ministry to issue judges' conduct gazette Saying that the President was misled, the Supreme Court on 12 December directed the law ministry to issue a gazette notification finalising the rules determining the discipline and conduct of lower court judges by 15 January 2017.  The direction came up a day after the President decided that there is no need for a gazette notification on the rules regarding the discipline and conduct of the lower court judges.