12:49 AM, August 03, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:57 AM, August 03, 2013

Wealth Statement Disclosure

Most SC judges not interested

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Staff Correspondent

Most Supreme Court judges have not disclosed their wealth statements, even two years after the then chief justice ABM Khairul Haque in 2011 had requested them to do so for the sake of transparency.
The Appellate Division of the SC has now nine judges, including Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain. The High Court Division -- the other division of the SC -- has 90 judges.
Lower court judges give their wealth statements every year in their annual confidential reports to the SC, as it is mandatory for them.
On December 30, 2010, Justice Khairul Haque submitted his wealth statement to the then president Zillur Rahman. At a meeting on January 3, 2011 at the SC, Khairul urged all the judges of the two divisions to submit their wealth statements to his office.
SC sources said Justice SK Sinha, a senior judge of the Appellate Division, and 17 judges of the HC division submitted their wealth statements to Justice Khairul, who sent those to the president's office.
Justice Khairul retired on May 17, 2011, and Justice Md Muzammel Hossain was sworn in as chief justice the next day. A number of HC judges who submitted their wealth statements have retired in the meantime.
Former chief justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim on February 7, 2010, told the media at his office that SC judges should publish their wealth statements in the interest of a transparent judiciary.
He had also said that judges in India placed their wealth statements and that he felt judges in Bangladesh should do the same.
But Justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim himself did not submit his wealth statement, nor did the present CJ, the sources added.
Contacted, SC Registrar AKM Shamsul Islam told The Daily Star last week that he could not say whether the present CJ had submitted his wealth statement.
Khandker Mahbub Hossain, vice-chairman of Bangladesh Bar Council, said all SC judges should disclose their wealth statements for the sake of transparency, as allegations of corruption in the judiciary are often raised.
If judges disclosed their wealth statements, people's faith in the judiciary and the judges would be enhanced, he added.
Since the 2008 elections, no minister or ruling party lawmaker, except for Finance Minister AMA Muhith, has disclosed wealth statements to the public, although the Awami League had promised to do so in its election manifesto.

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