HC stays law secy’s contractual appointment

The High Court on Tuesday stayed for three months the contractual appointment of law ministry secretary ASSM Zahirul Haque.

The bench of Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice Md Ataur Rahman Khan passed the order after hearing a petition filed by Supreme Court Lawyer Ashraf-Uz-Zaman.

Attorney general Mahbubey Alam told reporters that government would file petition to Appellate Division later today seeking stay on the high court’s stay.

Earlier, the High Court on August 8, asked the government to explain why contractual appointment of ASSM Zahirul Haque as law secretary for two more years would not be declared illegal.

Cabinet secretary, joint secretaries of the ministries of law, establishment and finance, the president secretariat’s secretary, Prime Minister Office’s secretary, the Supreme Court’s registrar general and Abu Saheh Sheikh Md Zahirul Haque were asked to reply to the ruling.

The bench passed the order after hearing a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Md Ashraf-Uz-Zaman challenging the legality of the contractual appointment of judicial officer Zahirul as law secretary without consulting the Supreme Court.

Petitioner’s lawyer AJ Mohammad Ali argued that Zahirul was still judicial officer on August 7 when he was given the contractual appointment. He also argued that there was no law to appoint a judicial officer on contractual basis.

Attorney general Mahbubey Alam supported Zahirul’s contractual appointment stating that the government did not need to consult the Supreme Court as Zahirul was no more a judicial officer after his retirement.

Zahirul had been serving as the law secretary for the past three years.

He had served for five years as deputy secretary and joint secretary, being additional district judge.

The contractual appointment came at a time when the Supreme Court and the law ministry were at loggerhead over publishing disciplinary rules for lower court judges.

Source: New Age

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