Chief justice’s leave expires

Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha is yet to inform the law minister anything about extension of his 39-day leave that expired yesterday.

“I don’t know whether the chief justice has extended his leave,” Law Minister Anisul Huq told The Daily Star last night.

He further said the CJ can rejoin office once he returns home from abroad.

Seeking anonymity, a close aide to the CJ told his correspondent that Justice Sinha, who went on leave on October 3 on health grounds, left Singapore yesterday for Canada to see his ailing daughter. Sinha flew to Singapore from Australia for treatment on November 6.

The aide, however, could not say whether the CJ informed the government or the Supreme Court authorities about the date of his return.

Contacted, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said he did not know whether the CJ extended his leave or where he is staying now.

According to a gazette notification issued by the law ministry on October 12, Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah, the most senior judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court after Justice Sinha, will carry out the duties of the CJ till November 10 or until Sinha rejoins office.

Amid backlash from the ruling quarters over the SC verdict on the 16th amendment to the constitution, Sinha left for Australia on October 13 night, months before his retirement on January 31 next year.

The SC scrapped the amendment that empowered parliament to remove SC judges for incapacity or misconduct.

Before leaving the country, Sinha said he was not sick, contradicting the government claim that he went on leave on health grounds.

On October 14, a day after Sinha left for Australia, the SC said Sinha is facing 11 charges, including money laundering and corruption.

On the same day, the attorney general said Sinha’s rejoining the office of the CJ after his return from abroad is “a far cry.”