Vol. 4 Num 240 Tue. January 27, 2004  
Front Page

Mudassir Husain made CJ toppling senior SC judges
Bar to boycott oath-taking

Justice Syed JR Mudassir Husain of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) has been appointed the 14th chief justice (CJ), the country's highest judicial officer.

The appointment was made yesterday bypassing Justices M Ruhul Amin and Mohammad Fazlul Karim, two senior judges of the Appellate Division.

The move drew condemnation from the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) that decided to boycott Justice Husain's swearing-in ceremony at Bangabhaban at 10:00am today.

President Iajuddin Ahmed will administer the oath of office to the new CJ.

Justice KM Hasan, the outgoing CJ, was also appointed to the post bypassing the same two judges, setting the first precedent for breach of seniority in CJ appointment.

On the other hand, Justices Amin and Karim had themselves been appointed to the Appellate Division on January 11 and May 15 of 2001, bypassing both Justices KM Hasan and Mudassir Husain, who were senior to all judges of the High Court Division then.

Meanwhile, SC lawyers and officials bade farewell to Justice KM Hasan who was appointed to the post on June 22, 2003.

Defending the appointment, Law Minister Moudud Ahmed told journalists yesterday that Justice Husain was a victim of past injustice. "We have corrected a wrong by doing the right," he said, referring to the times Justice Husain was bypassed.

On the other hand, SCBA President Rokanuddin Mahmud told The Daily Star that the government handpicked the chief justice to serve its purpose of politicising the judiciary.

He said the judges who were thus wronged should resign in protest of the unfair appointment, adding that they should have also protested the first breach of seniority when the previous CJ was appointed.

He said since independence, the most senior judge of the Appellate Division was appointed chief justice, a practice which was honoured even by the autocratic regime of Ershad. But both the instances of breach occurred during this government's rule.

Nonetheless, he said, the SCBA will felicitate the chief justice in the interest of the bench and the Bar, and also in light of the chief justice's position.

Profile of Justice Husain

The newly appointed Chief Justice Syed JR Mudassir Husain was born on March 1, 1940 in an aristocratic zamindar family of Habiganj.

He did his BA and LLB from Dhaka University.

Enrolled as a High Court advocate in 1965, Justice Husain was appointed High Court judge on February 18, 1992 and elevated to the Appellate Division on March 5, 2002.

He was appointed assistant attorney general in 1977 and deputy attorney general on January 8, 1984.

Husain also worked as part-time lecturer at Dhaka's Central Law College during 1966-78 and was examiner and question-setter at Dhaka University's law department.

Justice Husain is married to Syeda Majida Khatun, a social worker, and has three daughters and a son.

Justice Syed JR Mudassir Husain