News desk: Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha yesterday (Friday) left Singapore for Toronto, in Canada, to see his younger daughter, Asha Sinha, who lives there. An official close to the CJ said that Sinha left Chungi International Airport in Singapore at 8:00am (local time) yesterday on a China-Southern Airlines flight. He arrived at the Guangzhon Baiyum International Airport in China at 11:40am (local time) and left at 14:30pm (local time).
He is scheduled to arrive at Pearson International Airport in Toronto at 4:30pm (local time). Sushoma Sinha, wife of SK Sinha, is in Australia with their elder daughter, Suchona Sinha. Sources said the CJ would also visit the USA and London later. The CJ went on 39 days’ leave from October 3 in the wake of severe criticism from ruling party leaders for the Appellate Division’s 16th amendment verdict. His leave period expired yesterday. On October 12, the law ministry had issued a gazette notification on the government order about Chief Justice Sinha leaving for Australia on leave “on health grounds”. The CJ may now extend the leave period by sending an email. Sinha assumed office on January 17, 2015 as the country’s 21st Chief Justice. His retirement is scheduled for January 31, 2018.
Lawyers said the CJ was forced to go on leave under government pressure, following the recent Appellate Division verdict that scrapped the 16th amendment to the Constitution. The amendment has empowered Parliament to remove Supreme Court judges for “misbehaviour” or “inefficiency”. On July 3, the Supreme Court unanimously declared the 16th Amendment illegal, stripping Parliament of the power to impeach apex court judges.