BIOGRAPHY OF MD. TAFAZZUL ISLAM
Former Chief Justice of Bangladesh
(8 February 1943 – Present)
Born on 8 February 1943, in Nilphamari, currently aged 80 years old, Tafazzul Islam is the former, 17th Chief of Justice of Bangladesh. He served in this position from 23 December 2009 till 7 February 2010. He also served as a Judge of the High Court and Supreme Court of Bangladesh and as an adjunct faculty at the City Law College and the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka.
Tafazzul had completed his Bachelor of Arts (Honors) and Master’s degree in History from the University of Dhaka. Later, from Bangladesh, he attained an LLB degree from the same university. After that, he went to London, UK, and from there he obtained a Bar vocational course. While doing so, he got the opportunity to join the Bar of England and Wales from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn where he could practice as a Barrister in England and Wales. He also worked as a news presenter for the BBC while staying in London.
After coming back to Bangladesh, he got involved with the Law profession. He was appointed as the judge of the several highly reputed courts of the country. Even though he contributed in many historical cases, he mainly came into the limelight for presiding over at the final hearing of the murder trial of Bangladesh`s founder `Bangabandhu` Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s 12 murderers, and upheld the death penalties of them.
In personal life, he is married to Humaira Islam. He has 2 brothers, both of them are notable people of Bangladesh, Md Mainul Islam and Atiqul Islam. Tafazzul has achieved few rewards both nationally and internationally. Getting the call to the Bar from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and getting appointed as a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Hague and Netherlands are worth mentioning.
Life of “Md. Tafazzul Islam” at a glance
Real Name: Md. Tafazzul Islam
Date of Birth: 8 February 1943
➢ Chief Justice of Bangladesh, from 23 December 2009 to 7 February 2010
➢ Advocate, the High Court, East Pakistan, in 1969
➢ Advocate, Appellate Division, the Supreme Court, Bangladesh, in 1980
➢ Adjunct Faculty, City Law College
➢ Adjunct Faculty, Institute of Business Administration (IBA)
➢ Examiner, Law department, Dhaka University
➢ Member, Corporate Law Commission, Bangladesh
➢ Judge, the High Court Division, in 1994
➢ Judge, Appellate Division, the Supreme Court, Bangladesh, in 2003
➢ Chairman, the Enrolment Committee of the Bangladesh Bar Council, from 2004 to 2008
➢ Chairman, Bangladesh Judicial Service Commission, from 2008 to 2009
➢ Advocate, Bar of England and Wales, Hon’ble Society of Lincoln’s Inn, in 1967
➢ Member, Permanent Court of Arbitration, Hague, Netherlands
➢ News broadcaster, BBC
Place of Birth: Nilphamari, British India
Father’s Name: Momtazuddin Ahmed
Mother’s Name: Majeda Khatun
Siblings: 2 brothers
➢ Md Mainul Islam
➢ Atiqul Islam
Married to: Humaira Islam
➢ Bachelor of Arts (Honours), History, University of Dhaka
➢ Masters, History, University of Dhaka
➢ LLB, University of Dhaka
➢ Bar vocational course, London, England, UK, in 1967
Native Language: Bangla
Awards or Achievements:
➢ 1st position, Bangla recitation, the literary competition of Salimullah Muslim Hall, in 1959 and 1960
➢ Call to the Bar of England and Wales, Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, in 1967
➢ Membership of PCA, in 2015
➢ Bangla Academy Fellowship, in 2012
On 8 February 1943, Tafazzul Islam was born in Nilphamari district of the then British India which is now in Northern Bangladesh. He is currently 80 years old. He was born in the house of Majeda Khatun and Momtazuddin Ahmed. His father was a retired Superintendent of Police. Therefore, since his childhood, he was involved with law enforcement. Perhaps, that is what inspired him later in his life to enroll himself as a lawyer.
Tafazzul, before admitting into law life, had graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree and a Master’s degree in History from the University of Dhaka. After that, from the same university, he completed and obtained an LLB degree.
He decided to study more in the field of law after completing the basic LLB degree in Bangladesh. That is why he moved to London, UK, in 1967, for higher education. There, he enrolled himself in the Bar vocational course. After 2010, this course is now named Bar Professional Training Course or BPTC. It is a postgraduate course that makes law graduates be called barristers and practice in England and Wales.
Tafazzul started his career in 1967 when he was in London, doing his Bar vocational course. There, he worked as a news presenter for the international company, BBC. It is not known how long he had worked there.
In the same year, he was called to the Bar of England and Wales from the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn. There he practiced as a barrister for England and Wales. Again, the duration of the tenure there is unknown.
In 1969, he returned to Bangladesh and got enrolled as an advocate of the High Court of the then East Pakistan. A few years later, in 1980, he was hired as an advocate by Bangladesh’s Supreme Court’s Appellate Division. In 1994, he was promoted to the bench as a ‘judge; in the High Court Division’, and in 2003 in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. Finally, on 23 December 2009, he was sworn in as the 17th Chief Justice of Bangladesh when his predecessor MM Ruhul Amin decided to retire. The then President Zillur Rahman administered Tafazzul’s oath of office. This oath-taking ceremony was held at the Bangabhaban and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was present there. Tafazzul served in this role till 7 February 2010.
Tafazzul was also involved with the teaching profession. While he was an advocate, he worked as an adjunct faculty in the City Law College, Dhaka. There, he taught the course named “The Transfer of Property Act, 1882 and Equity and Trust”. Additionally, he was a teacher at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), of the University of Dhaka. There he taught the course named “Corporate Law”. He also served as an Examiner in the Department of Law, at the University of Dhaka.
Being one of the members of Bangladesh’s Corporate Law Commission, he notably contributed to the passing of The Companies Act (Bangladesh), 1994, and the Bank Company Act, 1991.
During his service as a judge of the High Court Division, from 2004 to 2008, he held the position of Chairman of the Bangladesh Bar Council’s Enrollment Committee, and from 2008 to 2009, he was the Chairman of the Bangladesh Judicial Service Commission.
Tafazzul is a pioneer author of numerous historic decisions. Through his fair and neutral judgments, he has established and set many important precedents and laid the groundwork for new laws and regulations. He has always been bold enough to stand for what is right.
Some of his bold judgments are: the removal of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of
Bangladesh, expanding the authority of the High Court Division under The Companies Act (Bangladesh), 1994, to protect the interest of the small owners/shareholders, and overturning the High Court Division’s judgment to permit the development of markets in violation of environmental law prohibitions.
He mainly came into the spotlight after he presided over the bench of the supreme court at the final hearing in the murder trial of “Bangabandhu” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of Bangladesh, and sustaining the High Court Division’s decision on the death penalties of the 12 ex-army officers, the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Tafazzul is always respected and has a reputation for being honest and just. He is also considered very brave for taking many bold decisions in various complicated cases. His fearless personality is acknowledged not only in Bangladesh but also globally.
His 2 brothers, Md Mainul Islam and Atiqul Islam are also influential people in the nation. Mainul is now a retired lieutenant general of the Bangladesh Army. Atiqul, on the other hand, is a politician, currently serving as the Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation. Both the siblings of Tafazzul have contributed much to the country.
In marital life, Tafazzul is married to Humaira Islam. She is the founder and acting president of “The Shakti Foundation”. This NGO focuses on empowering women who are underprivileged or marginalized in society.
Awards And Achievements
Tafazzul Islam has quite a good number of achievements. In the years 1959 and 1960, while he was a student at the University of Dhaka, he participated in a Bangla recitation in the literary competition of Salimullah Muslim Hall. There he ranked 1st position in the competition.
In 1967, when he was studying in the UK, after completing LLB from Bangladesh, from the Hon’ble Society of Lincoln’s Inn, London, he was called to the Bar of England and Wales. This is such a highly reputed honor because, in this institution, the world’s only most esteemed professional judges and lawyers are gathered together. As a Bangladeshi, Tafazzul getting this opportunity is truly a proud achievement for us.
In 2015, Tafazzul Islam was selected as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration situated in the Hague of Netherlands for resolving different global conflicts. He, along with another former jurist of the High Court Justice Md Awlad Ali, got this honor and thus, for the first time, any Bangladeshis obtained the membership of PCA. They were appointed for the upcoming 6 years to calmly solve all the international disputes. These selections represent Bangladesh’s efforts to bring about international peace through close ties to the Hague-based legal organizations. However, it also proves that these judges had shown their worth by making right and fair judgments. They could gain the trust of PCA.
Tafazzul also achieved Bangla Academy Fellowship in 2012. This award is given yearly to acknowledge and show respect to the influential people who have done great work in their respective sectors.
Tafazzul Islam has always been an honest man and a person of integrity. His daring characteristics allowed him to shine bright throughout his life especially in his career. He has taught us to be fair and upright. His achievements have brought a positive image for Bangladesh to the international society. His life story is truly inspiring for the future young leaders as well as for those in the field of law.