Sayem, Justice Abusadat Mohammad

Justice Abusadat Mohammad Sayem

Sayem, Justice Abusadat Mohammad (1916-1997) President of Bangladesh. Abusadat Mohammad Sayem was born on 29 March 1916 in Rangpur. He had his school education at Rangpur Zila School, College education at Carmichael College, Rangpur, and Presidency College, Kolkata. He became a law graduate from the University Law College, Kolkata. He was enrolled as an advocate of the Calcutta High Court in 1944. After partition of India in 1947 and setting up of a High Court in Dhaka he shifted his practice to the Dhaka High Court and worked as a junior of veteran advocate Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Huq.

Sayem was elected secretary and subsequently vice president of the Dhaka High Court Bar Association. He was a sponsor member of the East Pakistan Lawyers' Association and was elected secretary, general secretary and vice president of the said organisation for different terms. He was also elected a member of the Local Board of the State Bank of Pakistan, Dhaka. He was a member of the East Pakistan Bar Council till his elevation to the Bench.

On 3 July 1962, Sayem was appointed a judge of the High Court of judicature in East Pakistan. In 1967, he was appointed a member of the Commission of Enquiry for finding out the causes of exodus and eviction of the members of the minority community. He was again appointed a member of the new Enquiry Commission formed for the same purpose. He was a member of the Delimitation Commission (1970) for delimitation of the constituencies, and had subsequently been a member of the Election Commission.

After liberation of the country Justice AM Sayem was appointed the Chief Justice of the High Court of Bangladesh on 12 January 1972, and after the formation of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh on 17 December 1972 he was appointed the Chief Justice of Bangladesh. Justice Sayem assumed the office of President and Chief Martial Law Administrator on 6 November 1975. He relinquished the office of the Chief Martial Law Administrator on 29 November 1976 and office of the President on 21 April 1977.

Besides being the author of the book At Bangabhaban: Last Phase (1988) he had delivered many important judgments laying down the law. His most important judgment is in the Berubari Case in which cession of southern half of South Berubari union and the adjacent enclaves to India in exchange for Dahagram and Angarpota enclaves to Bangladesh under an agreement signed by the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh on May 1974, was challenged. Following that judgement Third Amendment to the Constitution was made to give effect to the agreement. Justice Sayem died in Dhaka on 8 July 1997. [Kazi Ebadul Hoque]