SC remarks reflect state of institutions, say experts

Dhaka,  Sun,  20 August 2017
Published : 03 Aug 2017, 23:15:38
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SC remarks reflect state of institutions, say experts

FE Report

Civil society members termed on Thursday the observations made in the full verdict on the 16th amendment a 'rare set of remarks.'

They said the state of the country's governance and capacities of institutions was reflected in the remarks made in the full verdict.

When asked, noted jurist Dr Shahdeen Malik said the observations were not part of the verdict.

"They are just remarks and thoughts," he added.

He said making such strong observations in a court verdict is very common in developed countries, but it is a 'rare set of remarks' for Bangladesh.

He, however, said the observations are worth taking note; but those have hardly any implementation value. Those are 'obiter dicta'.

The Latin term 'obiter dicta' means remarks of a judge which are not necessary to reaching a decision, but are made as comments, illustrations or thoughts.

Former Adviser to caretaker government M Hafizuddin Khan termed the observations of the SC very positive. He said those would certainly be helpful for the country's judiciary, democracy and good governance.    

"I see each observation of the SC verdict on 16th amendment very positively," Mr Khan said.

Echoing the same tone, Professor Amena Mohsin of the Department of International Relations at Dhaka University, however, said the government, political parties and others have many things to learn from such observations.

"I think the government, political parties and other stakeholders should take it positively and also follow those for the betterment of the country's democracy, good governance and other institutions," she said. The Supreme Court (SC) in its full verdict on the 16th amendment to the Constitution released on Tuesday made various observations regarding inability to build up any public institution, rampant corruption, dysfunctional parliament and acute mismanagement in the administration.

It also said the government becomes arrogant and uncontrolled in the absence of checks and balances and an effective watchdog mechanism.

It also noted that human rights are at stake.

It said millions of people are deprived of basic healthcare. The lives and security of citizens are becoming utterly insecure.

 "A society where a good man does not dream of good things at all; but the bad man is all the more restless to grab a few more of bounty," the SC said.

It said politics as an institution is completely destroyed.

With the development of technology, the dimensions of crimes are changing, the apex court says, adding that the lives and security of citizens are becoming utterly insecure.

The law enforcing agencies are unable to tackle the situation and the combined result of all this is a crippled society, it added.

It said, "Even after forty-six years of independence, we have not been able to institutionalise any public institutions. There are no checks and balances, there is no watchdog mechanism at work, thus the people in the position are being indulged into abuse of power and showing audacity of freehand exercise of power."

The government in September 2014 brought the 16th amendment. The amendment was challenged in the High Court.

The HC in May 2016 declared the amendment unconstitutional and void. The government challenged the verdict by filing an appeal with the Appellate Division which rejected the government's appeal on July 3 and upheld the HC verdict.

It says that after independence, those unholy alliances of power-mongers reduced this country to a banana republic twice. People were bluffed and compromised to legitimise their illegal exercise of power.

Thus as an institution, the notion of 'politics' has been completely destroyed.

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