Justice Shahabuddin took over the office for the second time at the request of Awami League. He did not have any major disagreement with the Awami League government for five years. But the Awami League leadership clashed with Justice Sahabuddin over the 2001 elections and they also blamed him along with the then chief adviser and chief election commissioner for their defeat in the elections. It was a blow to a righteous man.
Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed started his career in 1954 after passing the competitive examination of Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP). After being transferred from administration to judiciary in 1960, he joined as the registrar of Dhaka High Court in 1967. Justice Shahabuddin was appointed as a judge of the High Court in 1972 after independence.
He became a judge of the Appellate Division in 1980 and became the chief justice in January 1990. Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed was one of the judges who pronounced the verdict in the 8th amendment of the constitution. This verdict declared the six permanent benches of the High Court outside Dhaka constituted by the military government invalid.
Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed was the only person in the country’s history to hold the post of president and chief justice of the country more than once. He spoke frankly what he thought was true. He often emphasised the need for political tolerance and democratic values outside of written speeches. Aware of his own powers, Shahabuddin Ahmed said, "The president has no other duties but to join milads and offer prayers at graves."
The position was never important to Shahabuddin Ahmed. It was the country and the people who were important. One thing has to be mentioned here, he reduced the allocation during his predecessor for entertaining guests at Bangabhaban several times. He thought that he did not have the right to spend people's money arbitrarily.
He had lived a kind of isolated life since stepping down as president at the end of his term in November 2001. He was not seen at social events.
Our deepest tribute to Justice Sahabuddin Ahmed. Let his rare qualities guide us ahead.