Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq is an icon of the Supreme Court
Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq was my guardian. My icon. Just why me, he was the icon of all junior barristers. As unique as he was as a lawyer, he was also unique as a man. In his death, Bangladesh lost a good child. And the Supreme Court lost a mahiruh of law. We lost one of the son of the Golden Age in Law field.
I was a direct student of Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq. I first saw him at Dhaka University in 1986. One day I am sitting in front of the law faculty. We students are waiting for the class of Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq. In the meantime, a tall, slender man walked straight in front of us and entered the classroom. I still don’t know him. In the meantime the news came that the class has started. I ran. I see he is in Dias. Then I realized that this is Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq. I have known him since then. Within a few days I was able to get his attention.
In 1969 I went to his chamber after the test. I went there and saw a gathering of many people. So many books. I have never seen so many books in anyone’s house before. He used to buy books whenever he got them. When he went abroad, he would bring a book full of briefcases. The junior lawyers in his chambers are sitting here and there. It was great to see the chamber. I passed the law. Then I went to London to do bar-at-law. While studying there, he came to my house one day. Then I passed the bar and returned to the country in 1986. He was the first to invite me to lunch after returning to the country. I was surprised. Hearing this, he said, it is the rule. If someone passes the barrister, the senior will feed him.
Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq had a gentle mind. Just as he has earned crores of taka in his life, so he has spent equally with both hands. Many hospitals, orphanages and colleges have been established with his money. He used to give regular donations to many hospitals. Beyond that, it is up to him to personally account for how many people he has helped. He also twice wanted to help me financially. But I could not get financial help from him. Once in 2006. When my daughter was in London. She had a tumor on her head. One day during that tumor operation, Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq Sir offered me financial assistance. Another time in 2009. This time for my wife. But I could never get financial help from him. Because I was a judge then.
Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq strictly observed the rules and regulations. He also forced the juniors to abide by it. Lime was not protected from drinking. He used to get out of bed at 5 am regularly. He used to prepare himself for the hearing of the case. Arriving in court fully prepared, he would present arguments in a way that I could not. I remember sitting in the court in 1967-6. He is keeping submissions in English in a hurry. We all listen to Justice as if enchanted. He had a stunning presentation. No matter how tough the case is, he makes it easy, his pair is fair in presenting it fluently. At the hearing, he would make references to different cases with each argument. I practiced regularly before becoming a judge. I have defeated a lot of big lawyers then. But I never defeated Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq.
Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq sometimes lost his temper during court hearings. No judge ever said anything about his behavior. Didn’t think of anything. Because, the hearing of Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq was such that no one wanted to miss it.
Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq was the directorate of constitution and company law. He was involved in making many laws in Bangladesh. I have known him for 53 years. Barrister Rafiq-ul Haq was like the Himalayas in Law Field. He was an apolitical man. Did not do politics. He would tell the truth frankly. He was a true patriot. I lost a guardian in his death. Bangladesh lost a good son.
Author: Justice ABM Khairul Haque
Former Chief Justice and Chairman of the Law Commission