Speakers at a roundtable discussion have urged the government to ensure the rule of law in the country and act properly upon the judgments of the higher courts, to protect the sanctity of the constitution.
Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan), a non-government organization working to promote good governance, organized the event at National Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Delivering his keynote speech at the program, former justice Mohammad Abdul Matin said: “All rules are not a law. For example, the Marshal law imposed on Bangalis by the then Pakistani rulers was not actually a law. For rules to be a law, it must talk about the commoners’ rights and ensure their wellbeing.”
Bangalis fought in the 1971 Liberation War not just for a free, independent land, but for freedom and the rule of law, he added.
Referring to criticism from the ruling quarter over the Supreme Court’s verdict dismissing the 16th constitutional amendment, he said the way the ruling Awami League reacted to the judgment was undesirable and unacceptable.
Following the rift between the judiciary and the executive, most judges lost interest in their tasks, the former justice added.
“Judgments of the Appellate Division reflect the voices of the common people. Disregarding its verdicts is tantamount to disregard for the people’s opinions.”
Eminent jurist and Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain said: “We have to be respectful of our constitution. We achieved it at the cost of many lives.”
“There are some problems in coordination between the judiciary and the executive. But still, people should not lose their faith in the rule of law,” he said, urging all to raise their voice if they feel the rule of law is fading away.
Shujon Secretary Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar said the sudden resignation of former chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha and allegations of corruption against him should be properly investigated; otherwise the highest court will be questioned and people will lose their trust in the judiciary.
Columnist Abul Moksud Ahmed, local government expert Dr Tofail Ahmed, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association Chairperson Syeda Rizwana, Justice Kazi Ebadul Haque, Barrister Amir Ul Islam, Dr Shahdin Malik, Dr Hamida Hossain and Prof Dr Asif Nazrul of Dhaka University were present at the event, among others.