Jamaat claims confusing | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, August 09, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 09, 2009

Jamaat claims confusing

Share this with

Copy this link

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, which calls for establishing the rule of Islam through organised efforts, has strongly claimed that its charter has never had any clause that contradicts the country's constitution.
But Jamaat's claim does not match with the landmark Supreme Court verdict that the constitution of the republic does not allow establishing any rule but the rule of law in the country.
According to the verdict, the basic structural pillars of the country's constitution are sovereignty of people, supremacy of the constitution, democracy and secularism. It says none of these can be changed, even by amending the constitution.
"The structural pillars of the constitution stand beyond any change by amendatory process. Any amendment will be subject to the retention of these basic structures," former chief justice Shahabuddin Ahmad, who was one of the judges in the then Appellate Division, said in the historic verdict on the constitution's eighth amendment case in 1989.
Jamaat's aims and objectives for establishing the rule of Islam in the country as stipulated in its charter require bringing drastic amendments to the basic structures of the constitution.
Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed in a statement on Tuesday said, "I want to make it crystal clear that there has never been any anti-constitutional clauses in Jamaat's charter."
The two-page statement signed by Prof Tasnim Alam, secretary of Jamaat's publicity department, also accused newspapers of carrying misleading and "syndicated reports" and protested those.
He said as a legitimate political party Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami submitted to the Election Commission its permanent constitution consistent with the Representation of the People Order (RPO).
According to the RPO, a political party will be disqualified from being registered as a parliamentary party with the EC if provisions in its charter contradict with the country's constitution.
"In some newspapers, Jamaat's commitment to establish an Islamic society has been labelled as contradictory to the democratic polity. This manifests their ignorance of democracy and Islam. Democracy might be honoured duly only when a truly Islamic society is established," Mojaheed said.
He also claimed that there is no discrimination against women and non-Muslims in his party. But Jamaat's constitution does not ensure equal rights to all irrespective of sex, religion and caste.
On women's representation, the Jamaat statement said it has finalised a provision of keeping 20-25 percent women in party committees at all levels.
The RPO, however, says a registered political party's charter must have provision for keeping 33 percent reserved posts for women at all levels and achieve the target by 2020.
In a special note incorporated in its charter, Jamaat claimed that it already has 20-25 percent women's representation in all its committees.
But in reality, the two top policymaking bodies of Jamaat--the 51-member central working committee and 15-member central executive committee--do not have a single woman member.
About non-Muslim members, the Jamaat secretary general said the party had non-Muslim members earlier and at present it has 20,000 non-Muslim associated members. The issue has been updated in the party constitution. The difference between Muslim and non-Muslim members is only religion-based. Muslim members say Bismillah at the time of taking oath, which is not applicable for non-Muslim members, Mojaheed claimed.
"The objections raised through syndicated [newspaper] reports on religious issues are related to our religious belief. The mention of Allah, the prophet and the after world in Jamaat's constitution are very much part of our Iman [belief]. Our constitution and international law preserve this belief and rights. The Representation of the People Order does not create any obstacle to this. If it had, that would have violated the constitution," Mojaheed said.
"We believe democracy is the only way to change a government in a multi-party democracy system. People of the country are catalyst for change of government," he said.
Mojaheed expressed hope that following the statement "propaganda against Jamaat's charter" will come to an end.
JAMAAT'S CHARTER VS COUNTRY'S CONSTITUTION
In its charter submitted to the EC on July 22, Jamaat refused to accept the parliament's plenary power to make laws as authorised by the country's constitution.
Jamaat's charter says people must not accept anyone except Allah as the law-making authority and encourages efforts to bring about necessary changes to the state system to ensure complete observance of Islam and safeguard the country's independence and sovereignty through revival of Islamic values and national unity.
The political party, which portrays itself as a religious, political, social and cultural movement, has been working for establishing the rule of Islam by bringing necessary amendments to the constitution and seeking people's mandate to that end.
But through its 1989 verdict, the Supreme Court declared illegal and void the eighth amendment to the constitution that amended articles 100 and 107.
The amendment destroyed one of the basic structures of the constitution by setting up six permanent benches of the High Court in different district headquarters.
All judicial powers of the republic are vested centrally in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, which is comprised of two divisions--High Court and Appellate Division.
"By amending the constitution the republic cannot be replaced by monarchy, democracy by oligarchy, or the judiciary cannot be abolished," Justice Shahabuddin Ahmad said in the verdict.
Former chief justice Mustafa Kamal has echoed the view in his book "Bangladesh Constitution: Trends and Issues".
"Bangladesh has opted for a republican form of government. So any kind of monarchy, oligarchy, aristocracy or dictatorship is an anathema to its republican character," Justice Kamal says.
On the question whether parliament is free to legislate as it chooses, he replies in the negative.
"Even an amendment to the constitution cannot run counter to the preamble and article 7 of the constitution," he says.
Justice MH Rahman, one of the judges of the then Appellate Division that delivered the historic verdict, observed that when parliament itself cannot amend the preamble, it cannot indirectly impair or destroy the fundamental aims of the society mentioned in the preamble.
The preamble of the constitution embodies and proclaims in emphatic terms the nation's historical war of liberation, aims, objectives, ideas and the ultimate goals in establishing the People's Republic of Bangladesh.
"…It shall be a fundamental aim of the state to realise through the democratic process a socialist society, free from exploitation--a society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, political, economic and social, will be secured for all citizens," the preamble reads.
Justice MH Rahman said, "In this case [the eighth amendment], we are concerned with only one basic feature, the rule of law, marked out as one of the fundamental aims of our society in the preamble."
But Jamaat's charter calls for organised efforts to end all types of repression, exploitation, corruption and injustice by establishing "just rule of Islam and of honest people".

Stay updated on the go with The Daily Star News App. Click here to download it for your device.

Grameenphone and Robi:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2222

Banglalink:
Type START <space> BR and send SMS it to 2225

Leave your comments

Top News

Share this with

Copy this link

Top News

Top