“Laws are made in the parliament of Bangladesh however during the course of time these laws have been scrutinized by ruling political parties to meet their own needs. Discuss the scrutinizes in details”
The Almighty God had established the first law since the first creation of the human beings, and it was implemented on the Adam and Eve. Their failure to abide by the Law set by the Almighty, which was to abstain from consumption of the forbidden fruit, have resulted in expulsion from heaven. Similarly in Earth humans have also made Laws for their own selves and for the smooth running of their society. The simple definition of Law ‘Law (a loanword from Danish-Norwegian lov), in politics and jurisprudence, is a set of rules or norms of conduct which mandate, proscribe or permit specified relationships among people and organizations; as well as punishments for those who do not follow the established rules of conduct’. Now the Law has been set to mend the behaving pattern of the citizens of a nation. Although law is a very perceptual entity because it is never the same for all the places rather varies upon situation, condition and environment. For example, in a Muslim country kissing and hugging is considered a serious offence whereas in the western world this is considered as normal as walking on the street. Thus, the law differs according to the culture and tradition of a particular place. One might perceive a law to be unjust in a place however in that place that law might be perfectly alright. For example, a Shariah law in Saudi Arabia, a person’s hand will be chopped if it is proved that he stole from someone unlawfully, now this law in Saudi Arab is conceived by the Western World as unlawful and barbaric. Therefore perception of law varies from person to person. Now laws are made for the benefit of the society so that a social order is preserved, however through ages it can be seen that the law is tempered by the political parties to serve their own purpose rather than using it as a tool to benefit the society.
2. Law in Bangladesh
The mother law in Bangladesh is referred to as the Bangladeshi constitution. The term constitution can be defined as “the basic principles and laws of a nation, state, or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it”. Now this is a very interesting when the term constitution is defined because it is here clearly mentioned that the people are given certain rights, which basically means that any law undertaken should be for the benefit of the people. However it is a basic fact in Bangladesh that the laws made are politically motivated. For example, the political parties for staying longer time in power make some laws. This is a very sensitive issue, which can be debated as I have mentioned before that finding out the rights and wrong in law is a matter of perception and it varies from person to person. However, the detailed discussion of various scrutinizes of law will provide food for thought for us about what is actually going on behind the formulation and implementation of law in Bangladesh.
I. Introduction of Bakshal (1975)
Amidst the unrest in Bangladesh after the liberation war of 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman the leader of the Awami League party and the father of nation, took power as the prime minister of Bangladesh. It was true that he was elected as the prime minister of Pakistan (both East and West Pakistan) and as Bangladesh got separated he legitimately came into power. However, after he took the power and started to run the country things got pretty much out of hand both economic and political condition in Bangladesh. So as usual when things get bad everyone blames the government and this case was no exception. Now, here a logical thing would be to take the responsibility and resign gracefully. But the lust of power made Awami League to make an amendment in the constitution, which banned all the opposition parties and started a single party political system, which is the main cause that led to the assassination of President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Thus the country fell into years of political unrest and economic turmoil in Bangladesh.
II. Indemnity Ordinance by Former President Ziaur Rahman
Soon after the years of turmoil finally the political unrest came into a halt when Army Chief Ziaur Rahman came into power in 1977. As usual his arrival came with hope of redemption from mistakes committed by Awami League. However instead of attempting to catch the killers of the former President Sheik Mujibur Rahman,, he pardoned the assassins by keeping the Indemnity Ordinance, which was enacted as an Ordinance (due to the fact that there was no parliament at that time to ratify it into an Act) by then President Khondokar Mostaq Ahmad. Such an Ordinance can be viewed as even unlawful because killing in any form is considered a crime according to the law, but as usual special acts such as these are undertaken by the ruling parties to pardon them of the crime.
III. Seventh Ammendment (Legalising a Military Dictator)
When Hussain Muhammad Ershad came into power after the assassination of then President Ziaur Rahman, also made laws and changed the constitution that would legalize the taking over the power by a military dictator. “The amendment was adopted by Parliament on November 11, 1986 by ratifying and confirming the promulgation of martial law on March 24, 1982, and all other proclamations under the martial law, martial law orders, martial law instructions, ordinances and all other laws made during the period, chief martial law administrator’s orders and martial law regulations. law orders, martial law instructions, ordinances and all other laws made during the period, chief martial law administrator’s orders and martial law regulations.” This constitution was changed to legalize his autocratic regime, now the question is what good did it bring for the people of Bangladesh. Apparently later it was proved that the constitution change did not create any subsequent good for the citizens. Moreover, this amendment has been recently declared as illegal in the High Court on August 26, 2010. According to the High Court division bench usurping the power in the name of martial law is considered illegal in all respects of the rule of law. Under the Martial Law system there were many trials held for various crimes, now the question is far from simple, which is if the Seventh Amendment is considered as illegal then all the trials will also be considered illegal.
IV. Common Laws and policies undertaken in Parliament
As mentioned before laws are made to uphold the rights of the people and betterment of a nation as whole. If a policy undertaken that does not bring betterment in people’s life then enacting that law will be considered as meaningless and just politically motivated. One such provision was passed in Parliament during the budget back in previous BNP led government tenure in 2001, however despite the criticism done by the Awami League (which was the opposition party during that time and now the government) continues to do the same in 2010-11 budget when it made the provision for whitening the black money with a flat rate of 10% taxation on income. This is outrageous for the honest people who are taxed 10 to 25 percent based on the progressive tax structure of Bangladesh. One does not have to look very far to find the answer to why such a provision was made despite its criticism from different factions. The reason is very simple political parties have members and affiliates who are corrupted and harnessed a huge sum of money through illegal means, which could not be taxed due to its income legality issue. Now taxation is necessary to legalize any earned money, thus a flat rate 10% on total income has been set to make the black money white. Now this is although not a law rather a provision that is given by many governments after 1975, in order to save their members from corruption charges in the future. Legalizing black money through flat rate are detrimental to the societies development as corruption free. In one case it can be put “It is clear that the budgetary support on black money will influence dishonesty, illegal activities and economic crime. So called politicians and businessmen, punished or accused for corruption in state of emergency time, could be clean by spending 10 percent. Araf Rahman KOKO can free from SIMENS bribe case. Former state minister of home Luttfujjaman Babor can clean his 200 million Taka that he get from for free BASUNDHARA chairman’s son from a murder case.
V. Changing the Law to make the Anti Corruption Comission Ineffective
Anti corruption commissions was formed to stop corruption in Bangladesh, however since its inception it has been made an ineffective organization from the word get go. In order to explain the full function of this organization a brief history is needed to be known. Before ACC was developed corruption charges were handled by Anti Corruption Bureau which was under the government. So free and fare investigation was not possible since the organization was highly politicized by the ruling political parties. However, after much public pressure finally anti corruption commission was made. For this the old law regarding the anti corruption bureau was ratified to form an applicable law for the anti corruption commission, which was supposed to be an autonomic organization powerful enough to investigate any corruption charges. This was a mere act by a political party, which was in the government during the enacting of this law, to gain public support. It is mainly because many laws needed to be ratified such as the recruitment of officials and other laws regarding the organization. However, it was not to be. In order to make the corruption commission a toothless tiger the government deliberately did not bring up the necessary amendments in the law that would make the anti corruption commission powerful and autonomous organization rather it made amendments to make the organization dysfunctional. “Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Chairman Hafizuddin said the proposed amendments to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act 2004 will make the ACC dysfunctional.” This is a very important issue because curbing corruption must be made an up most priority, as Bangladesh became consecutive five times leading corrupted country.
Thousands of pages can be filled up detailing every major scrutiny of law in Bangladesh. Law should be made just and for the right reason with the will to make the society better in mind. But laws go under serious scrutiny in the parliament as it is used to achieve political goals rather than social goals. To make matters worse even those laws which are not under scrutiny are poorly implemented through law enforcing agencies. Scrutiny and poor implementation of law must be stopped at all cost if this country might see a glimpse of establishing the elusive phrase “Rule of Law”
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