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Ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) general secretary, and road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader visited the residence of chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha and had dinner together on Saturday night.

Senior information officer at the road transport and bridges ministry Abu Naser told Prothom Alo that the chief justice and the minister talked nearly two hours.

“They took dinner together during the meet. They held discussion and will hold such discussion again in future,” said the ministry official.

He, however, declined to comment on the issue of the discussion between the chief justice and the minister.

Quader met the chief justice at a time when the judiciary, the executive and the legislature are apparently at loggerheads over supremacy and which has intensified recently following the 16th amendment annulment verdict.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on 3 July this year scrapped the 16th amendment and restored the Supreme Judicial Council and the full text of the verdict was released 1 August, stirring a huge debate over which of the state organ is sovereign – is it the legislature or the judiciary.

The AL-led 10th parliament on 17 September 2014 unanimously passed the Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Bill restoring its power to remove Supreme Court judges on the grounds of misconduct or incapacity, scrapping the existing constitutional provisions for the Supreme Judicial Council inquiry into such allegations.

As the full text of the verdict was released, ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) presidium member Abdul Matin Khasru has said the “political remarks” made by chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha in the 16th amendment verdict hurt, damaged, and grieved the ruling party.

The country’s main opposition political party – Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) – has, however, hailed the court verdict and is accusing the ruling AL of standing against the judiciary.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Law Commission chairman and former chief justice ABM Khairul Haque observed that the 16th amendment verdict has effectively removed the judges’ accountability to the people.

Following the Supreme Court verdict that stripped off parliament’s power to remove judges, he said, it ‘seems to me that Bangladesh is no longer a People’s Republic’; rather it becomes a ‘Judges’ Republic of Bangladesh’.

Pro-AL lawyers platform Bangabandhu Awami Ainjibi Parishad has announced to stage demonstrations across the country on 13, 16 and 17 August demanding that the objectionable and irrelevant statements at the observation of 16th amendment verdict by the Supreme Court be expunged.

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