Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque on Sunday formed a five-judge committee to prevent corruption in the Supreme Court.
Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, a judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, has been appointed head of the committee, said a release signed by the Supreme Court’s information officer, Anisur Rahman.
The rest of the committee comprises four judges of the High Court — Justices Mohammad Anwarul Haque, AKM Fazlur Rahman, Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Hasan Foez Siddique.
The committee has been asked to find out the causes behind the victimization of justice seekers and corruption including delay in disposal of the cases in the Supreme Court and, if possible, to identify the people involved in corruption, said the release.
According to the release, the committee has also been asked to recommend remedies.
It is likely to hold its first meeting today, said a Supreme Court official.
The committee was formed in line with the announcement of the chief justice at the full-court meeting of all Supreme Court judges on January 20 that such a measure would be taken, the SC’s deputy registrar, Md Badrul Alam Bhuiyan, told reporters after the meeting.
The announcement was made after the submission of the report of the five-judge committee formed to evaluate the household survey report of the Transparency International Bangladesh which had found that the public regarded the judiciary as the most corrupt service sector in the country.
Badrul said that the committee submitted the report to the chief justice on January 18.
The evaluation report was posted on the Supreme Court’s website on January 20.
The chief justice on 30 December, 2010 formed the committee of senior High Court judges comprising Justices MA Wahhab Miah, Nazmun Ara Sultana, M Imman Ali, Syed Mahmud Hossain and Sheik Rezowan Ali to make an assessment of the TIB’s survey.
‘The TIB’s report is nothing but propaganda,’ observed the judges in the evaluation report. ‘We had hoped that the report of the internationally reputed TIB would help us identify the persons in the judiciary involved in corruption, but our hope has not been fulfilled.’
The people involved in preparing the TIB’s report, in spite of being highly educated, have showed utter lack of responsibility by terming most corrupt the judiciary, including the higher judiciary, without any accurate and reliable information, they said.
The evaluation committee on January 13 held a meeting with TIB’s top bosses — chairman M Hafiz Uddin Khan and executive director Iftekharuzzaman — at the Judges’ Lounge in the Supreme Court.
According to the questionnaires distributed to the households and their answers, copies of which were submitted to the committee, the people, by whom the justice seekers were victimized and whom they had to bribe, were mainly lawyers, their clerks and touts, the evaluation report noted.
It said the TIB’s bosses had told the committee that by ‘judiciary’ they meant judges, lawyers, clerks and touts. However, according to the evaluation report, they later realised that lawyers, their clerks and touts were not part of the judiciary.
According to the evaluation report, the TIB’s bosses had told the committee that the families surveyed had not been asked to submit any documents of the lawsuits for which they had been harassed or had to give bribes. They had no details of the families harassed by the ‘judiciary’ excepting their identities recorded in coded numbers.
The TIB’s bosses also told the committee that they had not identified the judges, lawyers, clerks and touts who had been bribed, said the report.
When the TIB’s bosses claimed that international standards had been maintained in carrying out their survey, the committee asked them about the basis of the international standards.
The TIB’s bosses told the committee that a three-stage stratified cluster sampling, which is known as Integrated Multi-Purpose Sampling Frame, was followed in the survey.
The report also said the TIB’s bosses had told the committee that they did not hear anybody from the judiciary before releasing the survey report, as the methodology of survey, which the TIB follows, does not allow such hearing.
The TIB in its report ‘Corruption in Service Sectors: National Household Survey 2010’, released on 23 December, 2010, said that the judiciary was considered to be the most corrupt among the service sectors in the country, followed by law enforcement agencies and the land administration.
The report also said the High Court, in which bribery was pervasive, was the most corrupt section of the judiciary.
A Comilla court on 26 December, 2010 issued warrants for the arrest of TIB’s chairman M Hafizuddin Khan, executive director Iftekharuzzaman and senior research fellow Wahid Alam in connection with a case filed against them on charge of maligning the judiciary and legal practitioners in the household survey report. The court, however, rejected the case in the evening as the plaintiffs failed to submit their addresses properly.
Two Chittagong courts, however, summoned them on January 13 and January 30 in connection with defamation cases filed on 26 December, 2010.