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Tuesday, October 5, 2010
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Secularism back

HC says original constitution automatically restored thru' 5th amendment verdict; nobody can be forced to wear burqa, cap, dhuti

The High Court yesterday ruled that Bangladesh is now a secular state since the original constitution of 1972 has been automatically restored following the Supreme Court judgement on the fifth amendment.

In this secular state, everybody has religious freedom, and therefore no man, woman or child can be forced to wear religious attires like burqa, cap and dhuti, the HC said in a verdict.

But nobody could be prohibited from wearing religious attires if he or she wishes to wear those, it said.

The court also directed the authorities to immediately issue a circular asking all educational institutions not to compel students to wear religious clothes.

A division bench of the HC came up with the judgement after hearing a suo moto rule issued by it on August 22 asking the government to explain why compelling women to wear religious attires should not be declared illegal.

The bench comprised of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain had issued the rule following a report published in a Bangla daily with the headline "Rani Bhabani Mohila College: Burqa Na Porle Ashte Mana" (Students of Rani Bhabani Women's College not wearing veils are barred from entering the campus).

The August 22 report said principal of the college at Natore Mozammel Haque stopped cultural activities and sports at the college, and prohibited students not come to the campus without wearing burqa.

The HC observed that the four state principles including secularism, the main spirit of the Liberation War of the republic, have been re-established since the constitution of 1972 has been restored.

Some military rulers had illegally damaged the constitution of 1972 through martial law regulations, which are not recognised now, the judgement said.

The court directed the government to probe the allegations against the principal and take action.

But he should be kept on suspension during probe, it said.

Earlier, responding to the HC rule, the government had informed the court that it had issued a circular asking the authorities concerned not to compel women students to wear religious attire, and made Mozammel an officer on special duty (OSD).

Mozammel appeared before the HC bench yesterday as per its earlier order.

Secretaries to the ministries of home, education, social welfare and women affairs, and the principal have been made respondents to the court verdict.

SC lawyers Mahbub Shafique and KM Hafizul Alam argued before the court against compulsory wearing of religious attires.

Deputy Attorney General Nazrul Islam Talukder represented the government.

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The courts are supposed to interpret the law of the land. The laws must be made by the peoples' representatives, i.e the JS. But, nowhere in the world except in Bangladesh the court is taking upon itself the role of restoring or amending the constitution, implementing the verdicts and forcing the Government of the People to do what the court wants. This will set a bad precedence. This will undermine the role of the JS and, hence, the people. For God's sake, let the judges understand that even 1972 constitution was man-made and is not immutable. Amendments to a constitution must be made by the elected members or through a referendum. The court is not above people and certainly the respected judges are also accountable to the people. Lets hear the peoples' voice.

: Anonymous

Secularism is an ideal concept which was expected for us. Religion depends on the belief and its varied man to man and community to community. Even religious activities will relatively different which were must be respectable as well as honorable. At the same time each religious man conducts their daily life according to self religious ideology. As a Muslim community we learned this concept from our Holy Quran that there are various religion and each one has self freedom to follow the own religion activities. So, we absolutely celebrate this epoch making judgment which will be helpful to keep our religion, cultural and social affection.

: Md Sairul Islam
more comments (15)


  • Mong Sano Marma
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 01:38 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Returning to secularism after so many years is something that I would feel proud of so much. This will protect all-people of all faiths. One more time, the highest court in the nation upholds the very fact that no juntas can distort the very foundation or the pillars of the constitution upon which our nation stands.

  • Faqrul
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 01:32 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Now the real dimension is added to the ongoing debate on the remark of the Honorable CJ.

    He need not clarify any thing. This judgment tell the practical position applies to the other verdicts delivered by the HC and the SC, on constitutional and legal stand point of view on those two historic judgments.

  • T. Husain
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 01:35 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Good news, secularism back or shall we say that we have now right to start hegemony with secularism? And what are those 4 state principles that are the main spirit of the Liberation War of the republic? Bangladesh must be a wonderland where people can re-establish anything in the country overnight just by twitting.

  • Jamil Ahmed
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 01:53 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Let there be a referendum on 1972 constitution, we want to see who wins.

    I for sure do not support it. Some so called intellectuals have managed to persuade the ruling party to go for it.. Mark my word, it will be their downfall....

  • Kazi Firoz
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 06:38 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Any statement in religion which implies forcing human beings should be changed because forcing human beings can not be ideology of the God.

  • Anynomous
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 01:18 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Great step taken towards building a progressive Bangladesh.

  • Komolkoli
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 07:18 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    By cancelling fifth amendment everything of fourth amendment will come back and that is not a very good news...

  • Dev Saha
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 08:06 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Yes, it is high time to go back to the civility of 1972's constitution than having a religious state, where minorities would have no say at all. What good would that have done to Bangladesh?

  • SNH
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 08:59 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Is the mightiest country of all, US secular anymore? I guess it's gradually shifting to a hardcore Christian domain

    Secularism = not Turkey. Turkey is still a hardcore modern Muslim Empire, if not a nation.

  • SNH
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 10:19 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Christian Europe and rest of the world, secular? or 100% secular, including Europe? No geopolitical motivated paradigm? No opponent for Christian world domination? No Islamic country banner?

    Don't you think this Secular tag will eventually hunt down AL? Look at Turkey! After that many's back! Turkey is back! Secularism! India is secular? Shiv Shena? BJP? USA? Glenn Beck's show on Fox?

    2 extremes: Hyper Materialism and low blood sugar!

  • Syed
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 11:10 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Congrats, another new era, now we're free to follow 1972 calendar all over again - no one can stop us!! Hats off to this once in a lifetime achievement, another feather in the cap for our beloved PM.

  • Fareha Begum
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 11:13 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    Would like first of all congratulate the Lawyers who argued the case.

    This is indeed a victory of HUMANITY over Religious fanaticism . Bravo Bangladesh !!!

  • Kazi Firoz
    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 11:17 AM GMT+06:00 (162 weeks ago)

    There is no way to keep peace without secular social democracy. Bangladesh desperately need to follow it. Even, most of the Arabic countries made much better development under secular government. Because under secular rule, killings in the name of Islam are not allowed and it prevents whole Muslim community from the ideological attacks from other communities. It also saves the community from the Shia-Sunni conflicts.






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