Bangla judiciary frees itself from executive

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Dhaka, Nov 1 (UNI) The judiciary in Bangladesh today dissociated itself from the executive control after 36 years of the nation's Independence and embarked on a epoch-making journey to fulfil the people's long cherished dream for justice.

From today, all magistrates in subordinate courts of the country will exercise their judicial function under the authority of the Supreme Court.

Chief Advisor Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed inaugurated the Dhaka District Judicial Magistracy and the Dhaka District Metropolitan Magistracy by unveiling a red plaque at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Centre, setting off the journey of the independent judiciary.

It took 36 long years since Bangladesh's Independence to meet a mandate of the Constitution.

Till now, the executive magistrates have been under the direct control and supervision of the Ministries of Home and Establishment.

Administrative cadre officers, who will exercise their judicial function, have been given limited jurisdiction to try petty offences on the spot.

''We're not only committed to the establishment of rule of law but to the establishment of good governance,'' the Chief Advisor said while inaugurating the separation of the judiciary.

He asked all officials and employees of the Republic to extend all out cooperation to the judiciary in discharging its function.

Chief Justice Ruhul Amin said justification of the separation of the judiciary depends on the magistrates' wisdom, experience, integrity and capability in dispensation of justice.

''Otherwise, we all will have to face serious question of accountability from the people,'' he said.

Political parties, lawyers' associations and civil society cautiously welcomed the new journey of the judiciary with high hopes that people will get timely justice without any influence or intervention from any quarters.

Although the Constitution envisages that the State shall ensure the separation of the judiciary from the executive organs of the state, the previous governments did not comply with it on various pleas.

The political governments had made clear commitments to the people before elections, but, after assuming power, they adopted 'dillydallying tactics'.

It was only in 1995 that the entire judicial cadre officers ''being aggrieved by government actions'' were compelled to move the High Court with a writ petition seeking remedy for maintaining their dignity of service in accordance with the Constitutional mandate.

A High Court Division bench comprising Justices M Mozammel Huq and M Hassan Ameen in their judgement on May 7, 1997 held that the judicial service had to be separated from the other services of the State.

Losing the battle, the then government appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the High Court judgement. On December 2, 1999, the Appellate Division upheld the High Court judgement and declared the Judicial Cadre Service ultra vires of the Constitution and gave a 12-point directive considered Magna Carta for the separation of the judiciary.

Since then, all the elected governments of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Awami League had taken time from the Supreme Court for its implementation, but they failed. In all, the Supreme Court granted both the governments 26 deadlines.


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