Empowering Judiciary in
Bangladesh, though witnessed an eventful 2007 amidst the emergency, postponement of general election, human rights violation and the arrest of some senior most political leader, had ended the year with some positive initiatives for empowering judiciary in the poverty stricken country. Waiting for the general election within this year, the South Asian country had attracted international media attention, while its interim government separated the judiciary from the administrative clutches.
In fact, it was a big leap in search of quality democracy for
Inaugurating the Dhaka District Judicial Magistracy and Dhaka Metropolitan Magistracy, the chief of the government flagged off the journey of an independent judiciary in
The ceremony in the capital city coincided with the celebrations in 64 district judicial magistracies and three metropolitan magistracies of
The civil society, media and the political parties of
The Supreme Court of Bangladesh ruled in favour of separation of the judiciary (from the executive) eight years back, but it was implemented by neither the government of Sheikh Hasina (1996-2001) nor that of Begum Khaleda Zia (2001-2006). The Awami League government of Ms Hasina had reportedly initiated a few positive steps to honour the directives of the apex court (though failed to complete the process), but the Bangladesh Nationalist Party led government of Begum Zia did nothing in this direction.
The challenges now lay ahead of the judges and other judicial officials. Barrister Mainul Hosein, the Adviser for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs to the caretaker government described, "We (the government) have separated the judiciary from the interference of the executive not as a favour to the judges, but to assign them with the heavy responsibility of upholding justice and contributing to good governance as contemplated by the Constitution."
The initiative to get the judiciary separated in
The British during their colonial rule in the Indian sub continent (comprising today's
The demand for separation of judiciary started gaining momentum in the time of colonial rule itself. Awami League, since its inception in 1949 raised a voice for separation of power and it continued even after
Soon after the government declaration (of separation of judiciary in
But the suspicion and confusion about the new legal system are still paddling in the minds of the people. Mustafa Kamal Majumder, the editor of The New Nation, a
Statistics reveal that 484,832 cases (as of February 28) are pending with the courts of magistrates across
Nava Thakuria is an independent journalist based in
Scoop Independent News, New Zealand (14 January 2008)
Central Chronicle, Madhya Pradesh, India (16 January 2008)