CLD holds a dicussion on what law is and how it should be.

Center for Legal dialogue holds its second event on 8 March, 2018. The event was a discussion titled “What is Law, How The Law should be and what the sate of laws in Bangladesh is”. The discussion dealt with definitions of law given by different scholars, the characteristics of good law and how far Bangladeshi laws comply with these characteristics. The Key note speaker for the discussion was Habibur Rahman, a third year law student at University of Dhaka. The event was held at Dhaka University Central Students Union building at University of Dhaka.  Many a students from different departments of Dhaka University were present at the event to hear the discussion.

The key note speaker Habibur Rahman at first addressed the issue- what is law. He told that different scholars, according to their own perspective gave different definitions of law. For example, Marxist theory of law says Law is a tool of oppression. In order to serve their interests, the bourgeoisie  oppress the proletariat by using the law. On the the other hand, John Austin said, ” Law is the command of the Sovereign. According to him, a law, as it is a command of the Sovereign, is valid whether it is justified or unjustified. The speaker also briefly discussed various criticisms of Austin’s theory of law, presented by different scholars. The other theories of law discussed by the speaker includes Eugen Ehrlich’s theory of law which says only a small portion of all the laws controlling a society is made by the state. The rest of the laws are made, according to the demands of a situation i.e as are necessary in a situation, by the concerned people by way of mutual consent among them.

After that , the speaker discussed what characteristics a law should have to be considered as a good law. He told that, according to Fuller there are several characteristics of good law, e.g. a law should be universal and uniform, a law should be properly promulgated so that the people can know about that law, one law should not be conflicting with another and except for certain special circumstances, a law should not be given retrospective effect because then people will be liable for violation of law which they violated before it was passed and thus  there was no way they could know about the law.
One circumstance where Retrospective effect to the law was justified was the proclamation of independence of Bangladesh given by the Mujib Nagar Government on 17 April 1971.  The proclamation of independence, which also served as the fundamental law of Bangladesh until the adoption of the constitution in 1972, was given retrospective effect from 26 March, 1971 to  reaffirm the declaration of independence given by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the very date.

While discussing the state of laws in Bangladesh, the speaker observed that most of the laws of Bangladesh date back to the British colonial period, The British colonial government made those laws in such a way which provided them with ample opportunities to torture and oppress the people and thereby maintain their position in power. Sadly these provisions are still present in the laws which provide the government  and Police with the opportunity to harass the common people and oppress the activists of opposition party.

There was Question and Answer session after the discussion. The event ended with thanking all who came to the event.

Center for Legal Dialogue is a newly-formed organization. Its aim is to hold discourses on law and related issues. Already it has held two events.

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Fahim Mahmud

Fahim Mahmud is a fourth year law student at University of Dhaka. A Musim, a Bengali, but most importantly he prefers the identity of a Bangladeshi. He likes to think himself as a concerned citizen of the country and believes that the best way to serve the country is to do your job honestly and properly.

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