01/15/2015, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Bangladesh, first ever Hindu tribal appointed head of the Supreme Court

by Sumon Corraya
The appointment of S.K. Sinha is unprecedented in the Muslim majority nation. The judge is known for having condemned the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of independent Bangladesh, and granting permission to reintroduce the principle of secularism in the Constitution.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - For the first time in the history of Bangladesh, the president of the Supreme Court is a tribal Hindu. He is 64 year old judge Surendra Kumar Sinha. His appointment was announced on January 12 and is regarded by many commentators as significant, whereas the majority of the country is Muslim and Hindus were persecuted during the war of liberation from Pakistan in 1971.

The Ministry of Grace, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs published an official notification on the same day of the appointment. The oath taking ceremony for S.K. Sinha will be held on January 17, the day the incumbent president - Muzammel Hossain - officialy retires.

Belonging to the Bisnupriya Manipuri community and born in the district of Moulovibazar, Judge Sinha is known for having chaired numerous historical trials, including the trial against the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of the country and the first president of independent Bangladesh.

As chairman of a committee of the Supreme Court, in 2010, Sinha declared the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution illegal. Introduced in 1979 by General Zia-ur-Rahman, it cancelled the principle of secularism in the preamble of the Charter and proclaimed martial law. Once abrogated, the high court ruled that Bangladesh is a secular state.

In 2012, the court has also abolished the 13th Amendment, which provided - in the case of general elections - for the creation of a non-party caretaker government, which acted as the interim government and led the country towards a peaceful and impartial vote.

 

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