In memory of Justice SM Murshed

| Updated: January 19, 2023 22:02:22

In memory of Justice SM Murshed

An acclaimed Bangladeshi lawyer and jurist Syed Mahbub Murshed was born on January 11, 1911 and died on April 3, 1979. He lived only 68 years. Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when it comes to icons and stars like him whom we have grown to love and adore from the core of our hearts. We shall never forget him. We will always cherish his memory.

Murshed was born to his parents Syed Abdus Salek, a member of the Bengal Civil Service and Afzalunnessa Begum, a sister of Sher-e-Bangla A. K. Fazlul Huq. He obtained his bachelors in economics from Presidency College, Calcutta in 1931, masters from Calcutta University in 1932, and L.L.B degree in 1933. In 1939, he became a barrister from Lincoln's Inn in London.

Murshed became a member of the Calcutta High Court Bar in 1934. Returning from England in 1939, he started practising as a senior advocate of the Federal Court of India. In 1951, he migrated to the-then Pakistan and joined the Dhaka High Court Bar in 1951. He was elevated to a judge of the Dhaka High Court bench in 1955. He served as an ad hoc judge of the Pakistan Supreme Court during 1962-1963. He was appointed Chief Justice of the-then East Pakistan High Court in May 1964 and served close to 1967. He resigned from the position in November 1967.

According to the former Chief Justice of Bangladesh Latifur Rahman, some of the notable judgments delivered by Murshed were Abdul Haque's case, the Pan case, the Basic Democracies case and the case of Lt Colonel G L Bhattacharya.

Murshed joined the mass movement against Ayub in late 1968. A contemporary report in the Time magazine stated, "The opposition cause was also boosted by widely respected Syed Mahbub Murshed, former Chief Justice of the East Pakistan High Court, who told the nation that 'We are not destined to perish in ignominy if we put up a determined and united resistance to evil."

Murshed was married to Lyla Arzumand Banu, a daughter of Mohammed Zakariah, an Indian Nationalist and Mayor of Calcutta in 1939. Together they had three sons - Syed Marghub Murshed, a former civil servant (CSP), Syed Mamnun Murshed, an academic and diplomat, and Syed Mansood Murshed, an educationalist, and one daughter, Syeda Shaida Murshed.

Barrister Murshed had taken up legal profession as his career upholding highest standards. As a jurist, he was a man of extraordinary vigour, unflinching integrity, and courage.  His placidity, moderation and calmness, won the hearts of people who had come in contact with him.  His benevolent heart, and his serene and at times joyous temper made him the cherished companion of his friends. His candour and integrity attracted the confidence of the bar.

Recalling his great virtues of professionalism and wisdom is considered by most of his countrymen who knew him a virtuous duty. May his memory be an inspiration to all in the legal profession.


Anwar A. Khan is an independent political analyst who writes on politics, political and human-centred figures, current and international affairs

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