Three High Court judges have been asked to refrain from judicial activities.
Informed of the decision, the judges sought leave from the authorities concerned, Supreme Court spokesperson Mohammad Saifur Rahman said in a press statement yesterday.
He, however, did not mention any reasons.
Saifur said, “The decision that the three honourable judges would refrain from judicial activities was conveyed to them on advice from the honourable president, against the backdrop of a primary enquiry against the three. They then prayed for leave.”
The statement also did not disclose the names of the judges and why the enquiry was being conducted.
Talking to The Daily Star later in the day, Saifur, a special officer at the SC, said he did not know whether the judges were granted leave.
Mohammad Rezaul Haque, personal secretary to the chief justice, said four of the total 92 HC judges had already been on leave for treatment or performing Hajj.
The Daily Star correspondent found the names of three judges were dropped from the HC cause list yesterday.
The newspaper is not publishing the names.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam met Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain at the latter’s office yesterday.
Talking to reporters at his office later in the afternoon, the AG said the chief justice took the decision in consultation with the president. The CJ also had discussed the matter with other judges of the Appellate Division of the SC, he said.
Most members of the Supreme Court Bar Association have long been demanding steps to make the judiciary free of blemishes and uphold its image.
The president, who appoints judges, and the chief justice will decide who will conduct the further enquiry and what will be the next procedures, he said.
The AG said the president and the chief justice have taken the initiative to protect the judiciary’s image and dignity.
“No minister, judge or general people can remain above law. Following this initiative [of the president and the chief justice], a message will reach those who are not on the right track,” he said.
He declined to disclose the allegation against the three judges, saying the disclosure before the people would not be good for the image of the judiciary.
Replying to a question, the AG said the government had filed a petition with the SC, seeking a review of its judgement over the Supreme Judicial Council.
The SJC comprises the chief justice and two senior most judges of the Appellate Division.
Had the SJC been active, the CJ and the two senior most judges of the Appellate Division would have looked into the allegation. Later, the CJ and the two judges would send recommendations to the president for necessary action, he said.
Currently, the CJ was taking such decisions in consultation with the president and all judges of the apex court, the AG said.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court Bar Association Secretary AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon yesterday said they welcome the decision to keep the three judges away from judicial activities.
Khurshid Alam Khan, an SC lawyer and Editor of Dhaka Law Reports, termed the move unprecedented.
Khurshid, also the chief prosecutor of the Anti-Corruption Commission, said the matter was the centre of discussions on the SC premises throughout yesterday.