In fact, the term ‘rule of law’ is well placed in the Constitution of Bangladesh. Its Preamble states the ‘rule of law’ as one of the objectives to be attained. The Preamble, inter alia, says “....it shall be a fundamental aim of the State to realise through the democratic process a socialist society, free from exploitation – a societyin which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, political, economic and social, will be secured for all citizens.”
In accordance with the above pledge, the following positive provisions for rule of law have been incorporated in the Constitution:
Firstly: Article 27 guarantees that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. Article 27, therefore, forbids discrimination in law or in State actions.
Secondly: Article 31 guarantees that to enjoy the protection of the law, and to be treated in accordance with law, and only in accordance with law, is the inalienable right of every citizen, wherever he may be, and of every other person for the time being within Bangladesh, and in particular no action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with law. Article 31 imports the concept of due process, both substantive and procedural, and thus prohibits arbitrary or unreasonable law and State action.
Thirdly: around 18 fundamental rights have been guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution and constitutional arrangement for their effective enforcement has been ensured in Article 44 (right to move to the High Court) and 102 (power of the High Court to take appropriate action upon application).
Fourthly: Article 7 and 26 impose limitation on Parliament that no law which is inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution can be passed. Article 7(2) confirms that if any other law is inconsistent with the Constitution that other law shall, to the extent of the consistency, be void.
Fifthly: In accordance with Article 7, 26 and 102(2) of the Constitution, the Supreme Court exercises the power of judicial review whereby it can examine the extent and legality of the actions of both the executive and legislature and can declare any of their actions void if they go beyond their limit.
Sixthly: the people’s right to be governed by a representative body answerable to them has, directly and indirectly, been ensured under Article 7(1) [all power belong to the people, Article 11 (The Republic shall be a democracy where, among others, fundamental human rights shall be guaranteed), Article 55 (Cabinet), Article 56 (Ministers), 57 (tenure of the office of the Prime Minister), and Article 65(2) [composition of Parliament] of the Constitution.
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