Vol. 4 Num 26 Mon. June 23, 2003  
Front Page

KM Hasan new CJ

Justice KM Hasan was made the 13th chief justice yesterday in an appointment that superseded two judges of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

Conversely, justices M Ruhul Amin and Mohammad Fazlul Karim were earlier appointed to the Appellate Division, superseding Justice Hasan.

Yesterday was the last workday for outgoing Chief Justice Mainur Reza Chowdhury. President Iajuddin Ahmed will administer oath of office to Justice Hasan at the Bangabhaban at 10:00am today.

But the Supreme Court Bar Association disapproved of the appointment and decided to boycott his swearing-in ceremony.

Justices Amin and Karim were appointed to the Appellate Division on January 11, 2001 and May 15, 2001, and Justice Hasan was appointed to the same division on January 20, 2002. Justice Hasan retires on January 27 next year.

Justice Hasan was appointed as a judge to the High Court Division on July 13, 1991, while Justice Amin on February 18, 1992 and Justice Karim on November 1, 1992 to the same division.

Defending the appointment, Law Minister Moudud Ahmed told journalists yesterday that Justice Hasan was a "victim of past injustice". "We have undone a wrong by doing the right," he said pointing to the time when Justice Hasan was superseded.

On the other hand, Bar Association President Rokanuddin Mahmud told The Daily Star that since independence of Bangladesh, the most senior judges of the Appellate Division had been appointed chief justices.

"Even the autocratic regime did not go beyond the tradition. For the first time, such a breach has taken place. We disapprove it," he said.

"We would request the government not to make such an appointment in future," said Rokanuddin after a Bar association executive committee meeting that opposed the appointment.

However, Rokanuddin said, "In the interest of the bench and Bar, and for the chief justice's position, we will felicitate the new chief justice."

Meanwhile, officials and lawyers of the Supreme Court bade a farewell to Mainur Reza Chowdhury, who was appointed chief justice on June 18, 2002.

Justice Chowdhury, who turns 65 today, urged all judges and lawyers to keep up public confidence through efficient dispensation of justice. He hoped that separation of the judiciary would take place soon.

Attorney General AF Hasan Ariff praised the outgoing chief justice's role in strengthening the judiciary, while Rokanuddin said the appointment of judges, including the chief justice, had become highly politicised due to introduction of the caretaker government.

Profile of Justice Hasan

The newly appointed Chief Justice Khandaker Mahmud-ul-Hasan, known as KM Hasan, was born on January 27, 1939. His father late justice Khandaker Mohammed Hasan came from Munshiganj.

Enrolled as a Supreme Court advocate in 1963, Justice Hasan was elevated as a judge to the High Court in 1999 and the Appellate Division on January 20, 2002. He served as ambassador to Iraq from 1980 to 1982.

He did his BA (Honours), MA and LLB in Dhaka, LLM in London and is a Barrister-at-Law from Lincoln's Inn.

Justice Hasan had been involved with different organisations, including Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs and American Bar Association.

He took part in law-related international conferences in Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Austria and Australia.

Newly appointed Chief Justice KM Hasan, right, shakes hands with outgoing Chief Justice Mainur Reza Chowdhury yesterday. Photo: STAR