The news of the unexpected passing away of Justice Kamrul Islam Siddiqui last week was a huge shock to me and many of his colleagues, friends and acquaintances. I was not aware of his indisposition as we were not communicating for the last few months. With a heavy heart and deep sorrow, I regret the failing.
It was indeed a pleasure to be introduced to a lively gentleman way back in the early 1986 in Officers' Club. He was unlike typical judicial officials of yesteryears who used to be grim in disposition and quite economical in conversation. In fact, suavity of manners coupled with amiable disposition was the hallmarks of his engaging personality. Of fair complexion, fair heart and good looks, Kamrul Siddiqui, also a sportsman of good standing, was noticeably inspiring in the Tennis circuit in Dhaka Officers' Club. He also enlivened the proceedings of many other functions of the club by his warm presence and admirable wit.
As registrar of the Apex Court, he had been witness to many significant transactions and to me he would narrate some of them in the most agreeable manner. He definitely had a discerning eye that could notice the humour in a grim business. He relished telling me that the Apex Court was built at an unimaginably low cost. When I light-heartedly told him that the structure was more ornamental and less functional, he would animatedly differ with all the counterpoints at his command. He lived a frugal life and was in fact looking for appropriate post-retirement engagements to lead a dignified life.
Beyond Tennis and the onerous duties of his profession, Justice Siddiqui evinced deep interest in public affairs. In addition to being involved in the Judicial Reform Project, he was refreshingly curious to know about the initiatives of the Police Reform Project wherein I worked in an advisory capacity. In fact, he was only pragmatic to realise that police being an integral part of the Criminal Justice Administration, needed substantive reforms. He agreed that many of our regulatory state organs needed to undergo meaningful changes to be in tune with the spirit of our Constitution.
Though positioned in the supreme corrective state institution, Justice Siddiqui did not assume an air of superiority and was remarkably unpretentious. When required, he would proffer advice in an unobtrusive manner. Worldly privations did not deter him from diligently performing his august responsibilities.
It is my earnest prayer that the Almighty Allah will reward him in the hereafter. May his soul rest in peace and may the Almighty grant his family the forbearance to bear the loss.
Muhammad Nurul Huda is a former IGP.