Nazmun Ara Sultana, the country’s first female judge, will go into retirement today.
The judge of the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division was accorded a farewell at the court on Thursday, her last working day as justice. She served the country in several positions for 42 years.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and and Supreme Court Bar Association President Zainul Abedin accorded the farewell attended by Chief Justice SK Sinha, among others.
Addressing the programme, Nazmun Ara said some 400 women judges, who are now serving the country, could have not joined the service had she failed as the first female judge.
The justice said in her long career, she had never been inattentive, arbitrary or negligent in discharging her duties.
“Many of my judgments might have been wrong, which were later corrected at the Appellate Division. But they did not result from any inattention or negligence. I had worked with my wisdom and full attention,” said Justice Nazmun Ara, who was elevated to the Appellate Division on February 23, 2011.
“My 42-year-long career ended today [on Thursday]. Once I thought that I would live a free life and would be free of such difficult tasks as delivering judgments when I would go into retirement. But, with the farewell days nearing, I feel sad to leave the judiciary and you [colleagues],” she added.
Speaking of her childhood dreams, the justice said: “My father died, leaving five of his children too young. He always dreamt that one day at least one of us will become a barrister. But my mother could not afford to send any of us abroad to become a barrister.”
She later got admitted to a law college in Bangladesh in order to fulfill her father’s dream.
She said: “The day on which I joined the Mymensingh Judge Court as a lawyer is still fresh in my mind. On that day, I asked myself the question: ‘Can I not become a judge?’ But, I came to know that females were not allowed in the profession at the time.
“One and a half years later, the ban on females becoming judge was lifted, and I sat for BCS examinations and became the first female judge.”
Female judges faced many difficulties, but their male colleagues, who are responsible for dealing with the difficulties, did not understand the problems, and they did not even try, said she.
In 1990, some female judges including Nazmun Ara formed Bangladesh Women Judges Association (BWJA) with an aim to resolve the difficulties and increase their representation in the judiciary, which has emerged as an important and well-know organisation of female judges across the world.
About Nazmun Ara
Nazmun Ara is the daughter of late Chowdhury Abul Kashem Moinuddin and late Begum Rashida Sultana Deen.
Born on July 8, 1950, she obtained her BSc and LLB degrees and started her profession as a lawyer of the Mymensingh District Court in July 1972.
She joined the judicial service as munsif (assistant judge) in 1975 and was promoted to the position of District and Sessions Judge in 1990. She was promoted as an additional judge of the High Court Division in 2000 and as a judge in 2002.
An active member of International Association of Women Judges, Nazmun Ara was also selected as the organisation’s secretary for two consecutive terms.