CJ warns errant district judges
Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque yesterday warned district judges not to take any benefit from court head-clerks or get involved in any sort of monetary dealings with them.
"We have information that many of you have monetary dealings with nazirs, there are such allegations in my hands," he told 180 district judges while addressing the concluding session of a judicial conference in the Judges' Lounge of Supreme Court.
The chief justice said he had received allegations that some district judges, during their transfers, had even demanded freezers, instead of the holy Quran or walking sticks, as farewell gifts.
"Don't share stories of your lives with your subordinates….don't take benefits from the nazirs…not all of you indulge in such behaviour, but a few do," he added.
If judges indulge in such practices, process servers will never carry out their duties with due diligence, and the head-clerks will get a feeling of omnipotence, said the chief justice. "There is a big business behind all these…and there are many instances of notices and summons not being served, despite being issued," he said.
The judiciary in Bangladesh is now a subject of widespread discussions, he said adding that the people are losing their confidence in the judiciary, due to "many incidents".
As superior judicial officers the judges should shoulder responsibilities, which goes for all judges from the apex court to lower courts, he said.
"The people of Bangladesh are not happy with us…with our performance, credibility, integrity and honesty, and it is not about only you, but about all from the top to the bottom," he said.
He urged the judges to perform their duties properly, so the public confidence in the judiciary can be restored.
As soon a person becomes a judge, he or she must get rid of old habits and thinking, as judges are judges round the clock, he said.
The entire judicial system of the country hinges on district judges, and there should not be any confusion about it, he added.
He shared his experiences from his recent sudden incognito visits to different Dhaka courts.
He said he found insufficient light, and environment so hot and filthy at the courts that any fit person will become sick if he or she stays there 15 to 20 minutes.
"I know you work under such conditions, and I have the fullest sympathy for you. But, we will not lose our hope, and keep working to ensure justice."
He also criticised those judges who do not keep their families with them at their posts in districts, and rather keep them in the capital. The chief justice questioned if that is a healthy practice for judges.
He said he knows that most of the district judges head towards Dhaka every Thursday and return to their workplaces on Sunday morning. The termed the practice "very unlike of a judge".
He said judges should have the coldest possible heart while dealing with their cases.
The chief justice directed the judges to be aware of proper administration of justice at the time of granting bail.
He said most lawbreakers nowadays are influential, and they might influence investigations after getting bail, so bail should usually be avoided during investigations. But if an investigation is too long, bail can be considered, he added.
Although some people argue that bail is a fundamental right, it actually is not, he noted.
But that does not mean the judges should not grant bail, as bail is an issue of liberty and the judges do not have the right to infringe upon any person's right to liberty, he went on.
If there is any tangible evidence against an accused, he or she can be detained, but why should one be detained without any reason, he questioned.
People who deserve bail must get it, but if there is apprehension based on facts that the accused might commit another crime upon bail, in that case the person should be kept detained, he elucidated.
He urged the judges to deliver verdicts while courts are in session, and asked them to motivate their colleagues to do so as well.
The chief justice also said he spoke rather harshly to the judges, because if he did not, the people will say those things on streets in the future, if the present situation continues.
He told the judges to work for mitigating sufferings of the people.