'Feeling embarrassed' one kind of rights of judges
The judges of the Appellate Division and the High Court Division of the Supreme Court can feel embarrassed to hear or entertain any case for its fair and impartial dispensation of justice, but there should be some legal and logical reasons behind their feeling so for the interest of the transparency.
While talking to The Daily Star on Tuesday, two legal experts said feeling embarrassed is one kind of legal rights of the judges.
They said judges can feel embarrassed if any party of a case is personally known to them directly or indirectly, or the judges are related to the subject in question regarding the case, or if the judges have dealt with the matter directly or indirectly prior to the hearing of the case.
Additional Attorney General (AAG) M Enayetur Rahim said judges can feel embarrassed to hear the cases if those are filed by the relatives or the clients of the judges when they (judges) were lawyers before becoming judges.
He said judges can also feel embarrassed if they are threatened openly or by telephone by anybody.
Citing example, the AAG said two judges of the High Court, who recently felt embarrassed to hear a writ petition filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, have disclosed the reasons for their feeling embarrassed.
"Justice Mohammad Anwarul Haque and Justice Quamrul Islam Siddiqui have told the open court that they should not hear the writ petition since they, while they were government officials, had handled the files regarding the allotment of the cantonment house to Khaleda. The reasons of feeling so are very logical," he added.
Enayetur said two other judges have not disclosed the reasons regarding their feeling embarrassed and refusing to hear the same matter.
The two judges Justice M Azizul Haque and AKM Abdul Hakim who felt embarrassed can inform the reasons of their feelings to the chief justice, he said, adding that feeling embarrassment by the judges in the cases of Khaleda and the murder of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are not the same.
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Secretary SM Rezaul Karim said some years ago the then chief justice had asked the judges of the Appellate Division and the High Court Division to assign the reasons of their feeling embarrassed, if they do so.
"I think judges feeling embarrassed personally or secretly should inform the chief justice of the reasons of their embarrassment," he said.
The lawyers said judges in many other countries like Bangladesh can feel embarrassed to hear cases and it is also nothing new in the country.
Earlier Barrister Moudud Ahmed, a counsel for Khaleda, had said the image of the Supreme Court has been seriously tarnished due to feeling embarrassment by some High Court judges one after another.