The High Court has observed that corrupt judges should be discharged from their duties immediately in order to keep the judiciary free from graft.
In the full 144-page text of a verdict, the HC said, “[If they are not removed,] the corrupt judges will gradually influence others onto their paths.”
“A judiciary without any graft is one of the original pre-conditions of the rule of law, which cannot be imagined without corruption-free judiciary,” the HC said on Thursday.
The bench had delivered the judgement on December 11 last year, following two separate writ petitions filed by the ministry of housing and public works last year, challenging a verdict given by the First Court of Settlement of Dhaka on November 27, 1995.
In the judgement, Khandker Musa Khaled, Md Taha Mollah and Farid Uddin Aktar, the then judges of First Court of Settlement of Dhaka, had removed 16 kathas of the land at Kakrail area in Dhaka from the list of abandoned property and given its ownership to four claimants — KAM Ashraf Uddin (six katha), Lutfunnissa Rahman (four katha), AKM Idris Hossain and his wife Jamila Khatun (six katha) in different plots.
The HC further observed that the then First Court of Settlement of Dhaka led by Musa Khaled had created unprecedented history and handed over the property of the state and people worth thousands of crores of taka to a gang of frauds without any documents or evidence (of claim) and, by doing so, had damaged the dignity of the judiciary.
“When the gang of frauds witness that property of Tk thousands of crores can be claimed without any documents and evidence, it sends a message to them and to the general public that the judiciary is for frauds and the affluent, not for the general public,” the verdict said.
It further observed, “The judiciary is the people’s last resort of hope and expectations. When the judges do their work through corruption, the general people have no place to go. They get disappointed and angry, and try to find the alternatives. Then they take shelter from unlawful people.
“The rule of law and judicial corruption cannot go hand in hand. If the judicial officers and staffers are corrupt, the rule of law will remain confined only to books…” the HC judges said in the full text of verdict.
They added, “Numerous reports and articles have been published on the independence of the judiciary in our society in many intellectual forums, newspapers and electronic media. But, there is no specific and clear article, on corrupt members of the judiciary.”
The HC directed the authorities concerned to send a copy of this verdict to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in order for her to be informed of the matter so that she can take initiatives on a personal level to protect the rule of law and take actions in this regard.