The Supreme Court in a full verdict has dissolved a long pending issue allowing the judges for six months to put their signature on the copies of the verdict from the date of its delivery in the open court.Besides this, the apex court also issued a total of 40-point directives for the judges on how judges should maintain the court’s code of conduct.
In its directive, the apex court said that a judge would have to sign the verdict on all cases within six months of its delivery unless a case is exceptional.
Amidst the raging debate about the judges signing judgments after their retirement, the top court’s observation has come in the full verdict that upheld a 2004 presidential decision to remove the High Court’s additional judge Syed Shahidur Rahman.
A four-strong Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha delivered the verdict on September 16 last year, which also scrapped a 2005 High Court order terming the presidential move illegal.
The 103-page full verdict in Shahidur Rahman’s case was published on the Supreme Court’s website yesterday.
The verdict copy said that a Judge should dispose of promptly the business of the court including avoiding inordinate delay in delivering judgments/orders. In no case a judgment shall be signed not later than six months of the date of delivery of judgment in exceptional cases.
In its full verdict, the apex court observed that a Judge should respect and comply with the constitution and law, and should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary.
It said that a Judge should be faithful to and maintain professional competence in the law, and should not be swayed by partisan interests, public clamor, or fear of criticism.
“A Judge should avoid public comment on the merit of a pending or impending Court case. A Judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the Judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” according to the verdict.
It said, “A Judge shall disqualify to hear a matter/cause where he served as lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom the Judge previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the Judge or such lawyer has been a material witness. A Judge must not enter into public debate or express his views in public on political matters or on matters that are pending or are likely to arise for judicial determination before him,” it added.
The verdict copy said, a Judge should not engage directly or indirectly in trade or business, either by himself or in association with any other person.
The verdict copy said, A Judge should not engage in any political activities, whatsoever in the country and abroad.
A Judge shall disclose his assets and liabilities if, asked for, by the Chief Justice, it added.
The verdict said, a Judge should not permit any member of his immediate family, such as spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law or daughter-in-law or any other close relative, if a member of the Bar, to appear before him or even be associated in any manner with a cause to be dealt with by him.
A Judge shall not enter into public debate or express his views in public on political matters or on matters that are pending or are likely to arise for judicial determination. A Judge is expected to let his judgments speak for themselves. He shall not give interviews to the media, it said.
According to the verdict, a Judge shall not allow the use of the judge’s residence by a member of the legal profession to receive clients or other members of the legal profession. A Judge shall not allow the Judge’s family, social or other relationships improperly to influence the Judge’s judicial conduct and judgment as a Judge. A Judge shall not practice law whilst the holder of judicial office.
A Judge shall maintain order and decorum in all proceedings before the court and be patient, dignified and courteous in relation to litigants, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the Judge deals in an official capacity. The Judge shall require similar conduct of legal representatives, court staff and others subject to the judge’s influence, direction or control. A Judge shall not engage in conduct incompatible with the diligent discharge of judicial duties, according to the verdict.
Mr. Syed Shahidur Rahman has violated some of the above ‘Code of Conduct’ and thereby he has committed gross misconduct. In view of the above, the High Court Division has committed manifestly wrong in declaring the order of removal of Mr Syed Shahidur Rahman from the office of a Judge of the High Court Division without lawful authority.