Ailment, Treatment, and Elevation to Appellate Division | A BROKEN DREAM | Status of Rule of Law, Human Rights and Democracy

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In 2009 I became sick with Lower Gastrointestinal cancer. Unfortunately, almost six months elapsed before doctors confirmed the diagnosis. In addition to my extreme physical sufferings, emotional torment descended on me when I started to believe that my days were suddenly numbered. After extensive discussions the doctors decided to treat me with radiation and chemotherapy. Following the second dose of chemotherapy I felt so crippling sick that I prayed to Almighty to take my life instead of so much pain and distress.

At this point of time, I got a phone call from Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed telling me that the government had decided to elevate me to the Appellate Division. I declined his offer explaining that my condition was perilous, and I did not even know the chances of my survival. Moreover, the doctors were unable to say anything about the impact of the treatment till six weeks had elapsed. He told me that everyone in Bangladesh and the government were hoping that I would recover soon, and that unless I was elevated to the Appellate Division, the hearing of the Bangabandhu Murder Case would not be possible. I told him that due to my health condition, it would not be possible on my part to take the responsibility. After six or seven days he called me again and wanted to know the condition of my health. By that time my chemotherapy was just over leaving only two or three radiotherapy sessions. I told him that the nauseas feeling was almost over, and I was able to take some fluid orally. He requested me to return to Bangladesh after the treatment was complete and added that if necessary special arrangement would be made for my transportation and the government would take care of that.

I thought that there was no use of staying further in Singapore wasting a huge amount of money and decided to return to Bangladesh. Accordingly, in mid- June, I returned to Dhaka. On July 15, 2009 I took oath along with Md. Abdul Aziz, B.K. Das and A.B.M. Khairul Haque. I was the junior most judge. I superseded Sikder Mokbul Haque. I had no control over the supersession, but it was criticized by journalist Mizanur Rahman Khan of the daily Prothom Alo. Sikder Mokbul had six months more time and I could have been accommodated after six months. As a result, Justice Sikder Mokbul and his family were much angered by the supersession.

I came to know later that the Chief Justice had constituted a Bench with Tofazzal Islam, Md. Abdul Aziz, B.K. Das, Md. Mozammel Hossain and me for hearing the Bangabandhu murder appeal. Although there were about six more senior judges, all of them were not able to be in the Bench because some of them felt embarrassed and Fazlul Karim and A.B.M. Khairul Haque had heard the appeal in the High Court Division. The equation was clear as to why I superseded Sikder Mokbul Hossain. Though all the judges were senior and efficient, they had little conception in criminal law and except for me all other members of the Bench were comfortable in dealing with civil matters. After taking oath, I went to Singapore for a final check-up and the doctors believed the results of the treatment were positive and that there were only 10-15 percent chances of relapse. The day I heard the news, the first thing that came to my mind was that I would see my granddaughter who arrived on Earth in the meantime. One of my well-wishers in Singapore was Siddiqui, a resident there who helped me greatly throughout my treatment although I had no acquaintance with him previously. I requested him to help me purchase a gold chain for the new member of a younger generation… After disposal of the Bangabandhu Murder case, I went to U.S. for a second opinion. The doctors upon examination of my medical records and preforming blood tests advised me to scrap all the papers and not to consult any doctor other than Dr. Chong of Singapore, stating that he was one of the best oncologists in the world and had treated me properly. They added that if I had not consulted the proper doctor, my fate would have been different.

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