Rule of law and good judges
On 08 January I had the opportunity to listen to our newly appointed law minister Barrister Shafiq Ahmed twice on the TV screen, once in the morning while he was addressing the journalists, and then in the evening during a talk show. He is known to be one of the most learned and renowned lawyers in our country. On both the occasions he expressed his firm conviction in the rule of law. No one can disagree with him. There cannot be good governance in the absence of rule of law. There cannot be any rule of law in the absence of learned, honest and efficient judges who can perform their duties independently and honestly.
Barrister Ahmed assured the people that he would certainly take necessary action as per if he received any complaint against any judge. An ordinary citizen has practically very little opportunity or scope to lodge a formal complaint against a judge.
May I also remind the honourable law minister that our present laws are not sufficient enough to deal with such cases. These laws were made long ago when the politicians or the appointing authorities were men of high integrity. People had full confidence in the persons who were appointed as judges. But, as we see, the situation is totally different now.
The last caretaker government of Dr. Fakhruddin identified the problem with our higher judiciary and thought of rectifying it, as they did with other organisations like ACC, PSC and UGC. They could not reform the higher judiciary, I believe, primarily for two reasons. One, to carry out such a huge reform that involves the constitution of the country a government needs very strong popular support. Obviously Dr. Fakhruddin's non-elected government did not enjoy that support. Two, such a major reform is usually followed by a backlash wherein quarters not interested in the desired reform try to create public disorder. Dr. Fakhruddin's government did not want to be distracted from their primary mission of holding the election by creating any public disorder.
The elected government of Sheikh Hasina with more than two thirds majority in parliament has the strongest political support of the people to do anything which is in the interest of the people. With such popular support at her back she need not bother about any backlash. In Bangladesh no government, however popular at the beginning it may be, can hold its popularity for more than two or three years. Therefore, now is the time for Sheikh Hasina's new government to carry out the much awaited reform.