Wednesday, January 24, 2018 | ePaper

Resolve of the year

We can`t continue to be losers and be free

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To live with lies and feel insecure is not freedom. We have to show our collective courage and character to secure freedom for all. Unfortunately, we are failing for lack of united determination and failing miserably.

The people's constitution lost its balance for democracy to survive. We have to worry about how much democracy is left for the people and how soon it will vanish altogether.

The damage to the   independence of the judiciary is a matter of grave concern as it will hurt us all. When justice is lost, everything is lost. Without independence of the judiciary the government loses its soul also.

The judiciary is the cornerstone of democracy and good governance. It is the independent judiciary that enforces our rights as guaranteed under the Constitution. The independence of the judiciary is mandated by the Constitution as a basic structure not to be abandoned. Yet, the soul of democracy has been throttled.

Democratic leaders like AK Fazlul Haq and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy never entered into collision with the independence of the judiciary knowing how essential it is for good governance based on the principles of the rule of law and justice under the law. No just government denies justice to its people.

The government was successful in getting the lower court rules accepted by the Supreme Court under an extreme situation of impropriety. The government is happy for the success of its easy show of power. Now the lower judiciary has come virtually under the control of the law ministry. The Law Minister has rightly denounced the need of a separate secretariat for the Supreme Court.

Had there been no void in political leadership they would have known that by undermining the judiciary the government has made itself weaker and messier. The judiciary will cease to be much of a force as a check against the people's suffering for abuse of law and misuse of power by the government functionaries. There will be more freedom for more corruption in more places.

It is called the bureaucratic ways of running the government. The nature of which is akin to a martial law in civilian clothes.
There is no effective parliament. No possibility of free election. The judiciary's power to interfere has diminished. Everybody has to live in fear of arbitrary police power. The politicians will be led but not lead. This is a situation that cannot be called democracy representing the people's power.

In the original Constitution under Article 116 the power of control including that of posting, promotion, grant of leave and discipline of the lower judiciary was vested in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court alone. But now by framing the new rules and getting them accepted by the Supreme Court these powers are vested in the President who will exercise such powers in consultation with the Supreme Court. For doing this, the government relied on the changed Article 116 brought in by a martial law government.

But the Supreme Court still has the power of superintendence and control over the lower judiciary under Article 109 of the Constitution. But all depends on how the Article is interpreted by the Supreme Court.

It took some 35 years to pass the law to comply with the constitutional obligation of separating the judiciary from the executive by an army backed caretaker government in the year 2007.

Unfortunately, no political government was willing to tolerate an independent judiciary. A bureaucratic government must have a compliant judiciary.

It is not relevant to the government that if the election time caretaker government could be rejected on the ground of it being violative of a basic structure of the Constitution, then how interfering with the independence of the judiciary can be justified?

 To the manipulators of the government, convenience is everything, contradiction means nothing.

The next general election will be the crucial test for the expression of the people's sovereignty. The right to vote freely is the sovereign right of the sovereign people. It is through free election that people choose their government and the government enjoys public trust. There is no pride in the fear of free election.

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