An author of several landmark amendments

Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, popularly known as S.K. Sinha, has been appointed the 21st Chief Justice of Bangladesh. The first non-Muslim to lead the country’s top judiciary, Justice Sinha is the first Chief Justice from the country’s ethnic minority Hindu community.

He was the senior-most judge of Appellate Division of the Supreme Court who was made the next Chief Justice. The swearing-in of the new Chief Justice will take place on Saturday at the Bangabhaban presidential palace.

Justice Sinha will serve just over three years as the Chief Justice with his retirement due in early 2018.

Having had an illustrious career, Justice Sinha sat on the Appellate Division bench that heard the 13th amendment appeal of the Constitution and scrapped the provision for caretaker government system to oversee national elections.

He was also part of the bench that heard the 2009 appeals in the landmark assassination case of the country’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Now 64, he has been an appeals judge in the ongoing war crimes trials linked to Bangladesh’s war of liberation against Pakistan in 1971.

His village home was recently set on fire, allegedly by Jamaat-e-Islami activists after he sat on an appeals case of a top Bangladesh war criminal.

During the period of his judgeship, Justice Sinha also delivered a number of landmark judgments, including the vital fifth amendment to the Constitution which declared the military rule of Gen. Ziaur Rahman illegal and unconstitutional.

Born in 1951, Justice Sinha hails from Tilokpur village of north-eastern Moulvibazar district. A law graduate, he was enrolled as an advocate of the district court, Sylhet in 1974 and practised there for several years.

He was then enrolled as an advocate of the High Court and the Appellate Division in 1978 and 1990 respectively. During this period, he worked with eminent lawyer S.R. Pal as his junior till the date of elevation to the bench in 1999. Justice Sinha was elevated as judge of the High Court on October 24, 1999 and as judge of the Appellate Division on July 16, 2009.

He participated in the third International Conference of the Chief Justices of the World, held in Lucknow in 2002, as a representative of Chief Justice of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh’s first Hindu Chief Justice to take office

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