Ashraf’s Column

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Reform is required

In the last 15 years, the two principal ruling parties of Bangladesh, the BNP and the AL, have deliberately destroyed all our organisations, like the national parliament, the Election Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission (formerly bureau), the institutions for higher education, the bureaucracy and, above all, the higher judiciary. Judiciary is one of the three pillars on which the edifice of a state stands, the other two being the executive and the legislature, both of which are run by the politicians. Judiciary, specially the higher judiciary, though not run by politicians, is made by politicians. While making and unmaking the higher judiciary of our country in the last 15 years our politicians have almost destroyed it. Both the BNP and the AL have inducted politically motivated persons with questionable qualification, competence and integrity into judiciary. The performance of the chief justice, who has just retired, is so ignominious that the whole nation is ashamed of it. The present caretaker government is bringing in long awaited reforms in all the vital sectors of our national life. It must reform the Supreme Court now. We have now a new chief justice who is known for his competence and integrity. The government should immediately take necessary actions to make the nation get rid of the judges of the Supreme/High Court who were appointed only on political considerations. It should be done in the same way the government eased out the chairmen and members of the last Election Commission and the Anti-Corruption Commission. Laws and rules should be amended to ensure the selection of the right kind of people to fill in the vacancies thus created. Such an important task cannot be entrusted to a political prime minister alone, as it is being done now. The chief justice must be involved in the selection/recommendation process with veto power to reject any candidate. If the present government hands over power to an elected government of the politicians, whenever it may be, without carrying out this reform in the higher judiciary, I am afraid, all the good work it is doing now will be undone by the next political government which will follow with the help and support of the partisan judges.

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