The government will seek another four months' time for separating the judiciary from the executive, report agencies.
"We will seek another four months on some technical points regarding separation of the judiciary from the executive, on February 1. Separating the judiciary is an administrative and structural problem for the government," Law, Justice a Parliamentary Affairs Minister Moudud Ahmed Sunday said.
On October 20, 2005, the Supreme Court refused to entertain a government petition seeking another four months' time for separating the judiciary from the executive as per the Supreme Court's 12-point directives.
The government has already sought time 22 times to implement the 12-point directives of the Supreme Court for separating the judiciary from the executive.
The Appellate division, fixed February 1, 2006, for hearing of the contempt rule issued by the apex court against nine bureaucrats on charge of distorting the judgment of Masdar Hossain versus Bangladesh case popularly known as judiciary separation case. Expressing annoyance over the government's delay in implementing the directives of the court in separating the judiciary from the executive, the apex court of the country, on October 20, 2005, refused to exempt the nine bureaucrats from the contempt charge.
At the outset of the press conference the Law Minister gave a detailed account of the progress made by his Ministry's project on Legal and Judicial Capacity Building aided by the World Bank, CIDA and DANIDA for ensuring smooth and effective justice-delivery system for all.
The Law Minister said the government could not work out the bringing of the magistracy under the judiciary to separate the judiciary from the executive in due time.
"Although I could not keep my word to implement it by the end of 2005, there was no lack of sincerity in this regard, as the matter is an administrative structural problem in the court management," he observed.
"It is not an easy task. The Supreme Court has to be manned with a full-fledged secretariat, which it does not have now, following the separation of judiciary," he said.
"The government has not any bureaucratic hurdles in separating the judiciary from the executive. The government will have to bring more than 600 magistrates under the judiciary. Many things will have to be done for separating the judiciary. A separate secretariat will have to be established under the Supreme Court after bringing the magistracy under the judiciary. It is a practical problem and we will have to handle the matter with sensitivity," he said.
Moudud said the government will comply with the Supreme Court directives to separate the judiciary from the executive within the tenure of the present government," he said.
"We will be able to separate the judiciary within the tenure of our government. If we cannot complete it within the tenure of the present government, we will do it in our next tenure since I am hopeful that we will be voted to power in the next general election," he said replying to a question.
He said the government has taken a number of steps to bring epoch-making reforms in the judiciary.
"We have already formed the Judicial Service Commission as per the Supreme Court directives. The vacancies of judges in the judiciary will be fulfilled immediately. Some 162 assistant judges will be appointed in the judiciary very soon through the Judicial Service Commission," he said.
The Law Minister said Judicial Capacity Building Project would be completed in June 2008.
"The Judicial Capacity Building Project is the most important project of the government. A number of structural developments have already been made at the courts premises of the country through this project," he added.
High officials of the Law Ministry, including its secretary Alauddin Sarder, were present at the press conference.