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15th-Sep-2015

Judges know best personal grievances are not to be publicly debated

By Editorial Desk

Many of our readers expressed anxiety to ask what is happening in the Supreme Court that one of the sitting justices his Lordship Mr AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury (Manik) openly demanded impeachment of the Chief Justice. The news of his letter addressed to the President requesting him to remove the Chief Justice Mr Surendra Kumar Sinha for violating his oath of office for some actions allegedly taken against him got widely circulated. It needs to be explained why the public should feel concerned about the controversy among the judges on points of judicial integrity. They know that it is through judges more than any others that honour and dignity of the judiciary essential for public faith in the judiciary are protected and held high. Their code of ethics require them to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary. When one says about another that he is sober as judge it is considered a highly honourable complement as a civilized person.Holding such an exalted position does not and cannot mean that a judge will not suffer wrongs or he should have no remedies if wrongs are committed. Justice Shamsuddin knows best that his personal grievances as a judge are not to be debated in public. It was not necessary to seek publicity for the redress of the unfair treatments he has complained of.That is why not everybody deserves to be a judge. Life of a judge is constrained in many ways so that his or hers own propriety in all activities remains in the eyes of the general public undiminished.The question is not whether allegations his Lordship has made are right or wrong. What is not deniable is that he has personal grievances against the Chief Justice. And he is angry to see the Chief Justice be removed. The institutional greatness of the Supreme Court should have received due consideration before being so open. The important question is does he believe that his demand for removing the Chief Justice Mr Sinha will have any impact on any quarter? Nobody thinks it will.It is not understandable why there should be so much objection from Justice Shamsuddin to signing of the judgements if the Chief Justice considers it should not be delayed.Our worry is not how to defend the Chief Justice of Bangladesh as a person, but as citizens we have the deepest anxiety to see that the justice system is not weakened for personal afflictions of anybody. The judiciary has to be defended as an institution if justice has to be defended.It is our belief that Justice Shamsuddin also knows that for seeking justice against the Chief Justice he cannot knowingly do harm to the judiciary where he reached the pinnacle of his career and honour.He must be grateful for the high position of prestige he has come to enjoy as a Judge of the Appellate Division. His personal complaints should not have interfered with his considered judgement not to do anything that undermines or damages public faith in the highest seat of justice.His allegations are so personal that they in no way concern public interest calling for public debate. These cannot attract public interest considerations of any kind. The allegations are not in respect of judicial process. His allegations are about discrimination and injustices in respect of administrative matters. While we say that, we are also aware that the whole truth will not be disclosed to us.Justice Shamsuddin will retire in a few days and it was unnecessary for him to leave behind a regrettable example for the judiciary. Hurting the judiciary for personal reasons cannot be defended.