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Judgement on hartal by Supreme Court and political consensus December 4, 2007

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, JUDICIARY, POLITICS.
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[Personal thoughts] The Daily Star reports that the Supreme Court yesterday overruled a High Court judgment and set aside its order that violence and coercion for or against hartal constitute criminal activities.A seven-member full court of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice M Ruhul Amin, passed the order following an appeal filed by Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan while he was secretary general of BNP.

A High Court division bench, in a suo moto rule on May 13 in 1999, affirmed that violence and coercion for or against hartal constitute criminal activities and directed police and court to take appropriate action in this regard.

The decision of the Supreme Court upheld hartal as the democratic right of the people. But the contents in the judgment that ‘it set aside violence and coercion for or against the hartal constitutes criminal activities’ was a little bit confusing to the ordinary citizen.

None wants violence or coercion for or against the hartal in our country and our hartals were becoming nastier as the time passes with the increase in violence or coercion. Before 1/11, it took the nastiest form by so called ‘aborod’ when all the traffic through roads and rails were forcibly cut off days after days and common people’s suffering rose to sky high to achieve the so called political objectives of parties and the clash, killing and violence on the 28thOctober 2006 on the streets of

Dhaka immediately after the handover of power of the BNP regime is beyond one’s imagination. Both the parties involved in the clash filed cases but so far no progress of the cases has been made. The ordinary citizen feels that these cases should be disposed off early and means should be adopted to discourage such political violence in future.

Though hartal is a democratic right, one cannot permit violence or coercion in favour or against the hartal. Supreme Court is also not advocating these in any way. As there are laws to punish these crimes in our legal system, it only set aside the order of that particular case of 1999 by the high court.

Then question comes, why there is no penalty or punishment for violence or coercion or even killing in regard to hartal or other political programs? Why the law is not effectively working in this respect?

The ordinary citizen is not against hartal but that should be as a last resort, on national issues, not for petty political gains, by spontaneous participation of the people and shouldn’t be imposed by force or violence.

And the political parties should come to a consensus for not calling hartal unnecessary and on petty issues and will never resort to violence to impose it. Hartal affects the ordinary citizen most, takes away their livelihood apart from its affection to social life and economic development of the country.

An ordinary citizen

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