Introduction: One of the basic principles of the English constitution is the rule of law. This doctrine is accepted in the constitution of U. S. A. and also in the constitution of Bangladesh. Now a day’s rule of law is one of the most discussed subjects of developing countries. Developed countries and donor agencies always instruct the developing countries for sustainable development and good governance. Actually sustainable development and good governance mostly depends on the proper application of rule of law. Laws are made for the conflicting forces in society.
One of the prime objects of making laws is to maintain law and order in society, a peaceful environment for the progress of the people. In true and real sense there is no rule of law in Bangladesh today. Law in Bangladesh follows a course of selective and discretionary application. Institution and procedures required for ensuring rule of law also are no effective in the country. Main Concept of Rule of Law: The term ‘Rule of Law’ is derived from the French phrase ‘La Principe de Legality’ (the principle of legality) which referse to a government based on principles of law and not of men.
In this sense the concept of ‘La Principe de Legality’ was opposed to arbitrary powers. The rule of law is old origin. In thirteenth century Bracton, a judge in the Reign of Henry III wrote- “The king himself ought to be subject to God and the law, because law makes him king. ” Edward Coke is said to be the originator of this concept, when he said that the king must be under God and law and thus vindicated the supremacy of law over the pretensions of the executives. Professor A. V. Dicey later developed on this concept in his classic book ‘The Law of the Constitution.
‘ published in the year 1885. Dicey’s concept of the rule of law contemplated the absence of wide powers in the hands of government officials. According to him wherever there is desecration there is room for arbitrariness. The rule of law is a viable and dynamic concept and like many other such concepts, is not capable of any exact definition. Its simplest meaning is that everything must be done according to law, but in that sense it gives little comfort unless it also means that the law must not give the government too much power.
The rule of law is opposed to the rule of arbitrary power. The primary meaning of rule of law is that the ruler and the ruled must be subject to law and no one is above 3. the law and hence accountable under the law. It implies the supremacy of law and the recognition that the law to be law can not be capricious. What is the Rule of Law? The rule of law is a system in which the following four universal principles are upheld: 1. The government and its officials and agents as well as individuals and private entities are accountable under the law. 2.
The laws are clear, publicized, and stable and just, are applied evenly, and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property. 3. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered and enforced is accessible, fair and efficient. 4. Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals that are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve. Establish the Rule of Law and Constitution of Bangladesh: The rule of law is a basic feature of the constitution of Bangladesh.
It has been pledged in the preamble to the constitution of Bangladesh that – “It shall be fundamental aim of the state to realize through the democratic process a Socialist society, free from exploitation – a society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, political economic and social, will be secured for all citizens. ” In accordance with this pledge the following positive provisions for rule of law have been incorporated in the constitution: Article 27 guarantees that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law.
Article 31 guarantees that to enjoy the protection of the law, and to be treated in accordance with law, is the inalienable right of every citizen, wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being with in Bangladesh, and in particular no action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with Law. 18 fundamental rights have been guranteed in the constitutional arrangement for their effective enforcement has been ensured in Articles 44 and 102. Article 7 and 26 impose limitation on the legislature 4.
that no law which is inconsistent with any provision of the constitution can be passed. In accordance with Article 7, 26 and 102(2) of the constitution the supreme court exercise the power of judicial review whereby it can examine the extent and legality of the actions of both executive and legislative and Constitutions declare any of their actions void if they do anything beyond their constitutional limits. Right to be governed by a representative body answerable to the people have been ensured under Articles 7(1), 11, 55, 56, 57 and 65(2) of the constitution. 18 all
these provisions of constitution are effective for ensuring rule of law in Bangladesh. But facts on the ground tell a different story altogether. Rule of Law Ensure in Bangladesh: Laws, rules and procedures framed under them exist to cover every walk of our national life, though there may be parities in number and shortcomings in scope. Our constitution contain plethora of laws while institutions like courts, ministries and departments have been set up to dispense justice and decisions in accordance with the present state of the rule of law revels the riddle of having a body of law and at the same time not having it.
It is like a person who is brain dead. Some aspects of the rule of law in our society and polity should be mentioned as under: First, accesses to law as well as equality before it are reserved for only those who are privileged. For the rest of the population, more or less the Hobbsian law of nature prevails. They are the helpless victims of as unjust society that sets great story by privileges. Second, all government in this country since the falls of Ershad have claimed that there is independence of judiciary.
The claim is only partially true, while the higher courts enjoy a certain measure of independence; the lower courts are under the direct control of the law ministry. The judges look up to the Ministry for everything infect they are obliged to. The principle of separation of judiciary from executive is being violated in two ways – 1. Magistrates are performing dual function of both executive and judiciary which is not desirable in the interest of justice. 2. The service of district and session judges, their transfer, promotion etc.
are controlled not by the Supreme Court but by the law ministry. 5. Third, The government of Bangladesh continued to use the Special Power Act of 1974 and section 54 of the criminal code which allow for arbitrary arrest and preventive detention, to harass political opponents and other citizens by detaining them without formal charges. Fourth, The very principle that law should take its own course requires that in investigation and preparation and submission of the charge sheet, the investigating agency should be free from, encumbrance’s influences and threats of all kinds.
Unfortunately, that situation does not obtain in todays Bangladesh. In recent years a large number of political killings have taken place. The national dailies have carried the stories of all the gruesome murders and the whole nation has been out raged. What is however deplorable is that in most of these highly publicized cases the culprits have not been brought to justice. The reason is not far to seek. It is the interference by high ups in the political ladder. Fifth, Another aspect of rule of law relates to the limits of law making power of the parliament itself.
Our constitution quite rightly declares the people as the repository of all power and they use it through their elected representatives. However, the question arises whether the parliament can make laws curbing the democratic rights the people, which are generally considered as unreasonable. The special power Act of 1974 the public safety Act passed former Awami Liege Government etc. which are used to put political opponents behind the bars, deserve special mention, so, the question arises can such pieces of legislation promote rule of law? Obviously, not.
One the other hand the government always with a view to avoiding debates make laws by ordinances and later gets them appointed under the sweeping power of article 70 of the constitution. Sixth, Rule of law postulates intelligence without passion and reason free from desire in any decision regarding matters concerned with governance. In our society, the principle is being ignored on many grounds as quotas for political activists by the name of honor to freedom fighters, special provision for individual security etc. Seventh, Police is no doubt a very powerful institution for the endorsement of the rule of law.
But in Bangladesh, the police have never been friendly with the public. The police serve the government and enjoy, in exchanges, 6. the freedom to act arbitrarily and in the material interests of its own members. Eighth, Ordinance making power can be supported only in emergency situation like national crisis, national calamity severe economic deflection etc. demanding for immediate legislative actions. But article 93 of the constitution allows the president to promulgate ordinances anytime during the recesses of parliament session.
On the other hand Article 141(A) empowers the president to declare emergency whenever he wishes. By declaring emergency in peace time the government can suspend fundamental rights and suppress the opposition movement. This mounts to avowed arbitrary exercise of power on the part of the government which is contradictory to the concept of rule of law. Ninth, Another disgusting aspect of our judicial system is that there is the charge of corruption against our judiciary. Moreover, justices oftener than not, a costly commodity in our country.
The poor people could not reach before the judges only because of mobility to meet the charge required for going through the complicated process of litigation. Thus, they prefer injustice than fatigue. Tenth, In order to provide quick relief and avoid lengthy proceedings of litigation providing for the creation of Administrative Tribunal particularly for service matters which needs special treatment and experience is not undemocratic something. But this tribunal has been kept outside the writ jurisdiction of the High Court Division under article 102(5).
Also it has been kept out of the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court Division. This provision has therefore, been contradictory to the concept of integrated judicial system and also contrary to the concept of independence judiciary. A prominent concern in the development community is the “rule of law” and the related concepts from other legal, Economic growth, political modernization, the protection of human rights, and other worthy objectives are all believed to hinge, at least in part, on “the rule of law.
” Policymakers in developing and transition nations are thus seeking ways to establish or strengthen the rule of law in their countries. Investment rating services, non- governmental organizations, and other students of development are producing indices that try to measure the degree to which a nation enjoys the rule of law. 7. But overlooked in much of the dialogue about the rule of law is that the term has no fixed meaning. It originated in normative writings on law and government, principally by Western authors, and each tailored the term to fit his or her vision of the “ideal” or “just” state.
As a consequence, one survey of how the term has been used in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States concludes that it “belongs to the category of open- ended concepts which are subject to permanent debate” Despite this multiplicity of definitions, most can be classified according to whether they emphasize formal characteristics, substantive outcomes, or functional considerations. The differences between these three conceptions and the implications of each for efforts to establish, measure, or foster the rule of law are described below.
Formal Development Rule of Law: Formal definitions of the rule of law look to the presence or absence of specific, observable criteria of the law or the legal system. Common criteria include: a formally independent and impartial judiciary; laws that are public; the absence of laws that apply only to particular individuals or classes; the absence of retroactive laws; and provisions for judicial review of government action. There is no definitive list of formal criteria, and different formal definitions may use different standards.
What formal definitions have in common is that the “rule of law” is measured by the conformity of the legal system to these explicit standards. The main advantage of a formal definition of the rule of law is that it is very clear and relatively objective once the formal criteria are chosen. Choosing which standards to include may be controversial, but after the standards are made explicit, it is usually not difficult to observe the degree to which countries meet or don’t meet the standards. Formal definitions thus avoid more subjective judgments, for example about whether laws are “fair” or “just.
” Substantive Development rule of Law: An alternative to the formal approach to the rule of law is one that looks to substantive outcomes such as “justice” or “fairness. ” This approach is not concerned with the formal rules, except inasmuch as they contribute to the achievement of a particular substantive goal of the legal system. Unlike the 8. formal approach, which eschews value judgments, the substantive approach is driven by a moral vision of the good legal system, and measures the rule of law in terms of how well the system being assessed approximates this ideal.
The main advantage of the substantive version of the rule of law is the explicit equation of the rule of law with something normatively good and desirable. The rule of law is good in this case because it is defined as such. This is appealing, first because the subjective judgement is made explicit rather than hidden in formal criteria, and, second, because the phrase “rule of law” has acquired such a strong positive connotation. Many people cannot accept any definition that would allow.
Functional Development rule of law: A third approach to the rule of law is similar to the substantive definition, but tries to avoid the thorny normative issues by focusing on how well the law and legal system perform some function – usually the constraint of government discretion, the making legal decisions predictable, or some combination of both. One version of this view, for example, would hold that a society in which government officials have little or no discretion has a high level of rule of law, whereas a society in which they wield a great deal of discretion has minimal rule of law.
The functional definition of the rule of law is broadly consistent with the traditional meaning of the English phrase, which has usually been contrasted with “rule of man. ” It has the advantage, too, of defining the rule of law according to outcome-related criteria, but not requiring a moral verdict on the desirability of that outcome. The functional definition is narrow enough that it does not overlap with other more general concepts, and it makes questions as to the relationship of formal characteristics to the rule of law, and of the rule of law to substantive goals, researchable rather than tautological.
Nonetheless, the functional definition suffers from a number of difficulties. First, as with the substantive definition, the relationship between the legal system per se and the functional goal can pose problems. It is possible to constrain government officials or realize predictability through means other than the legal system. Suppose one society has less official discretion than its neighbor even though the latter has apparently more restrictive laws. 9. Which enjoys a greater rule of law under a functional definition?
Another problem is the fact that looking at “predictability” or “official constraint” or any other function makes it hard to make any definitive statement about the level of rule of law in a whole society. Government officials may make literally thousands of decisions each day in a given system. Some of them may be highly constrained, while others are not. It is not at all clear how to aggregate the levels of discretion for individual types of decisions into an overall measure of the rule of law.
Observation: The above discussion makes it clear that though there are some positive provisions for ensuring rule of law in Bangladesh Constitution, they are being outweighed by the negative provisions. Though our constitution provides for 18 fundamentals rights for citizens, these remain meaningless version to the masses because due to poverty and absence of proper legal aid the poor people cannot realize them . 22 It also clear that the application of the principle of the rule of law is merely a farce in our country.
However, prospects for establishing society purely based on the democratic principle of the rule of law are not totally absent from the polity. We have a constitutional government elected through a free and fair election. But what is needed for the very cause of the principle of democratic rule of law is- 1. To separate the judiciary immediately from the executive ; 2. To appoint an ombudsman for the save of transparency and democratic accountability ; 3. To make the parliament effective and to let the law making body to do its due business in
cooperation with each other government and opposition; 4. To reform the law enforcing agencies and police force to rid them out of corruption and to free them from political influence so that they could truly maintain the rule of law; 5. To forge national unity and politics of consensus built around the basic values of the constitution, namely democracy, respect for each others human rights, tolerance, communal harmony etc. 10. Conclusion: Above discussions clearly shows that the present condition of rule of law in Bangladesh is not satisfactory.
However, the proposed measures for overcoming the shortcomings of rule of law also are not final but these are fundamental. Independent and particular policy for rule of law is a must for overcoming the ambiguity and anomalies in rule of law. After all, government must be committed to ensure the security of life and property of the people, protection of individual rights and the dissention of justice on the basis of the equality and fairness. On the other extreme, the opposition, civil society and social groups and organizations also have the moral obligations to help and cooperate with the government in this juncture.
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Topic: Present condition of rule of law in Bangladesh
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