Constitutionalism and the Judiciary in Bangladesh

Sunil Khilnani, Vikram Raghavan and Arun K. Thiruvengadam

in Comparative Constitutionalism in South Asia

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780198081760
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199082360 | DOI:
Constitutionalism and the Judiciary in Bangladesh

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This chapter discusses the role of the judiciary in Bangladesh in promoting and enforcing the principles of constitutionalism. It introduces the historical background of Bangladeshi constitutionalism and also outlines briefly the constitutional position of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. The author discusses how the Bangladeshi judiciary has renounced its constitutional responsibility of protecting the rule of law during the martial law regimes, and become a partner of the usurpers of the Constitution. During the democratic periods, the judges have, however, largely attempted to create a ground for actions in furtherance of constitutionalism. Also, the globalization process generally and the development of global human rights jurisprudence in particular have had a positive impact on the Court's changed role. The author also discusses how Public Interest Litigations (PILs) are helping willing and perceptive judges obtain the goals of justice and constitutionalism. The post-Emergency (2007-2008) judiciary in Bangladesh has engaged itself in regaining public confidence and rebuilding its image. The author concludes that his analyses of the judicial role in achieving and protecting constitutionalism show that while structural and political factors may retard the realization of this judicial role, a willing and able judiciary (steeped in the values of rule of law, justice, and human welfare) may effectively respond to the call for judicial vigilance for the protection of justice and good governance by overcoming any systemic inhibitions, and prohibitive legal and doctrinal boundaries.

Keywords: Bangladeshi judiciary; Bangladeshi Supreme Court; Martial law and the judiciary; PILs in Bangla Desh; Bangladeshi constitutionalism; 2007 Emergency in Bangla Desh; Judicial vigilance; Protection of constitutionalism; rule of law

Chapter.  14770 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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