President Abdul Hamid has approved an extended leave application by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha and appointed Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah to head the court in his absence. The law ministry issued a circular on Thursday after Justice Sinha's letter asking for leave to stay abroad until November 10 was signed by the president and the prime minister the previous day.
The circular, signed by Law Secretary ASSM Zahirul Haque, said Sinha's application for a 30-day leave from October 3 to November 1 had previously been approved but a new order was issued by the president to extend the chief justice's overseas stay.
The notice states that Justice Wahhab Miah will fulfill the duties of the chief justice between November 2 and Novem-ber 10, or until Justice Sinha returns, reports bdnews24.com.
Justice Sinha has faced criticism from ruling Awami League leaders over his verdict cancelling the 16th constitutional amendment. His term in office will come to an end on January 31. He will be travelling to Australia during his leave, the government said.
The media was informed of the situation by Attorney General Mahbubey Alam on October 3, a day before the Supreme Court was set to resume after a one-month vacation. Law Minister Anisul Huq later confirmed the matter. He showed the chief justice's leave letter to the media but the BNP has doubted its authenticity by claiming that the judge's signature on it has been forged.
On October 7, it was reported that Justice Sinha and his wife Sushma have got a three-year visa for Australia. The two will stay with their elder daughter Suchana Sinha, according to a source at the court.
Justice Sinha then sent a letter to the law ministry to inform the president of his plans to travel abroad. The law secretary said the chief justice informed the president of his desire to take a trip abroad from October 0 13 to November 10 in that letter.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed the letter after receiving it, Law Minister Anisul Huq said on Wednesday. President Hamid signed it that night. The law minister met with acting Chief Justice Miah on Wednesday to discuss Sinha's extended leave.
The law minister said they had also discussed the December 2 Judicial Conference and some administrative changes with Miah.According to the government's latest notices, Chief Justice Sinha should return to Bangladesh before the Judicial Conference.
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