Law, morality and politics in Bangladesh
Recently, I watched Barrister Rafiqul Islam talking in a TV talk show (29 October). During the talk he time and again mentioned that those politicians, most of whom belong to his own party BNP, who were convicted by lower courts recently under EPR for corruption and have appealed to the higher court against the judgments of the lower courts, should be allowed to contest in the upcoming national election, if necessary by carrying out an amendment to the EPR. His point of argument was that our constitution and normal law of the land does not hold a person guilty of a crime till s/he is found guilty by the highest court of the country, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. Many others are also expressing the same view to the media. Legally they are right. There is no doubt about that. May I ask the barrister and others holding the same view if they are morally right in saying so? Suppose a domestic male servant behaves very indecently with the daughter of the master of a house. The servant is found guilty by the lower court and is given due punishment. The servant appeals to the higher/highest court against the conviction where the trial is not over even in, say, 10 years. The servant comes back on bail and asks his master to reinstate him, saying that he is innocent as the higher/highest court has not yet found him guilty of the charge. In such cases notwithstanding what is given in the holy books of law, the masters of the houses will be guided by common sense and morality and reject the requests. Is the law totally devoid of morality? If Bangladesh is a house, its people are its masters. The makers of its constitution and laws could never think that there would be so much of degeneration among the senior political leaders that they would disgrace our parliament by making professional goons members of our parliament. Should the master of Bangladesh, its people, give an opportunity to all such convicted persons to become members of parliament again? We need to change those laws which are not compatible with morality, and that cannot be done by members of parliament who are beneficiaries of such immoral laws. We have an opportunity now under the EPR to get rid of those persons with questionable morality and elect at least a set of honest people as the representatives of the people of our country. To save this country from its present maladies, first of all we need to amend our constitution and change all laws which are not compatible with morality and the ethos of our people. I appeal to all concerned, including the lawyers who are defending the cases of the corrupt, to give the people of our country an opportunity to clean the political garbage. If not for anything, at least for the future welfare of your grandchildren give us an opportunity!