Judicial Leadership for Good Governance

Mohammad Rashed

Judicial Leadership for Good Governance

Judicial Leadership for Good Governance

In the intricate tapestry of a democratic society, the judiciary assumes a critical role as the guardian of justice, upholding the rule of law and ensuring good governance. In the context of Bangladesh, a country striving for progress and development, the significance of judicial leadership in fostering good governance cannot be overstated. Bangladesh has come a long way toward achieving democracy since gaining its independence in 1971. However, issues like corruption, political unrest, and shoddy governance processes continue to exist. As the nation navigates through the challenges of social, economic, and political transformations, the judiciary's role becomes even more vital in maintaining a just and equitable society. The term good governance' is increasingly being used in development literature. Intellectuals, bureaucrats, and civil society members alike are accepting the spirit of the concept and are conceiving it in the context of their own experience and environment. The implementation and achievement of good governance depends upon the transparency, integrity, and efficiency of the legislature executive, and judiciary.

Upholding the Rule of Law

The judiciary upholds the rule of law by ensuring that all individuals, including government officials, are accountable for their actions. It acts as a check on the exercise of executive and legislative powers, preventing abuse of authority and promoting fairness and justice. All people and entities must abide by the law, and it must be applied equally and impartially, according to the rule of law. Judges and other judicial officials are accountable for ensuring the integrity and consistency of the law's interpretation and application. The preamble of the constitution of Bangladesh states that "It shall be a fundamental aim of the State to realize through the democratic process a socialist society, free from exploitation, a society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality, and justice," political, economic, and social, will be secured for all citizens." Articles 26-44 of the Constitution of Bangladesh ensure the protection of the fundamental rights of the people of Bangladesh. The judiciary assures administration accountability, respect for human rights, and the rule of law by defending citizens' fundamental rights, all of which ultimately promote good governance. 

Ensuring Accountability and Transparency

 The judiciary plays a vital role in holding individuals and institutions accountable for their actions. Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index indicates a strong correlation between an independent judiciary and lower levels of corruption. Countries with an impartial and transparent judicial system are better positioned to combat corruption and ensure accountability. Judicial leaders are responsible for implementing mechanisms that promote transparency, such as public access to court proceedings, disclosure of judicial assets, and effective oversight of judicial conduct. Judiciary also investigates and adjudicates cases involving corruption, malfeasance, and other forms of misconduct.

Through judicial review and security of laws

Judicial review is the power of the court to investigate the legality of an official's action and thereby protect citizens' fundamental and other important rights. It is the cornerstone and heart of the legal system. This power ensures that laws are in accordance with the Constitution and do not violate fundamental rights or principles. Its major goal is to make sure that the citizens of this country are protected by the law and that any administrative action taken complies with the standards of procedure established by the law. Article 7 of the Constitution of Bangladesh gives judges the authority to deem any law or order that is incompatible with the country's supreme law unlawful and unenforceable. Article 7 states- "This Constitution is, as the solemn expression of the will of the people, the supreme law of the Republic, and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void."

Judicial Independence and Good Governance 

The Global Judicial Independence Report 2022, published by the World Justice Project, underscores the importance of judicial independence in achieving good governance. It reveals that countries with a higher level of judicial independence have lower corruption rates and stronger adherence to the rule of law. When the judiciary is independent, it acts as a check on potential abuses of power, ensuring that the executive and legislative branches operate within the confines of the law. A strong and independent judiciary fosters public trust and confidence, as citizens have faith that their rights will be protected and that the rule of law will prevail. It contributes to the overall stability of a nation, promotes fairness and equality, and creates an environment conducive to economic development and social progress. Thus, the promotion of judicial independence and good governance go hand in hand, serving as pillars of a just and democratic society.

Through the supervisory power of the judiciary 

Judicial supervision of lower ourts by high courts is an integral aspect of the legal system in a many countries. The judicial supervision of lower courts by high courts is not only essential for maintaining the integrity and consistency of the judicial system but also contributes to good governance. According to Article 109 of the constitution, the High Court Division (HCD) is responsible for overseeing and controlling all courts and tribunals that fall under its jurisdiction. The authority is also known as the HCD's supervisory authority. Judicial supervision ensures accountability and transparency within the judiciary. High courts have the authority to review the decisions and actions of lower courts, holding them accountable for any errors, biases, or procedural irregularities. This helps maintain the public's trust in the judiciary by ensuring that judicial processes are transparent and decisions are made in accordance with the law. The supervision of lower courts by high courts also helps protect individual rights and liberties.

Resolving Disputes and Providing Justice

The judiciary is responsible for resolving disputes and providing a fair and impartial forum for the resolution of conflicts. It acts as an impartial arbiter in resolving disputes between individuals, organizations, or the state. It provides a formal legal framework for parties to present their cases, submit evidence, and argue their positions. The judiciary listens to both sides, examines the relevant facts and laws, and issues a judgment or ruling based on the merits of the case. By effectively resolving disputes and providing justice, the judiciary ensures that conflicts are addressed in a fair and impartial manner, upholds the rule of law, protects individual rights, and contributes to the overall functioning of a just society.

Binding Precedents

Binding precedents, also known as stare decisis, are legal principles established by higher courts that must be followed by lower courts when deciding similar cases. 'Stare decisis', a Latin term meaning "to stand by things decided," is the principle that guides the application of binding precedents. Binding precedents typically arise in a hierarchical court system, where higher courts have authority over lower courts. The highest court often referred to as the Supreme Court has the power to establish binding precedents that lower courts must adhere to. Binding precedents play a crucial role in fostering good governance by promoting consistency, fairness, and transparency in the legal system. They contribute to the rule of law by ensuring that similar cases are treated equally and that the law is applied consistently and predictably.

In conclusion, the judiciary plays a pivotal role in promoting and upholding good governance. Its functions of resolving disputes, providing justice, and safeguarding fundamental rights are essential for ensuring fairness, equality, and accountability within a society. Through the judiciary's commitment to the rule of law, impartiality, and independence, it acts as a check on the exercise of power by other branches of government and protects individuals from arbitrary actions. The judiciary's role in interpreting and applying the law, setting precedents, and ensuring consistency contribute to legal certainty and predictability, which are vital for fostering stability and facilitating economic growth. By upholding the principles of good governance, such as the rule of law, fairness, transparency, and accountability, the judiciary reinforces public trust, strengthens institutions, and creates a just and well-functioning society for the benefit of all citizens.

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