Monday, 11 April 2011

Change constitution thru nat'l consensus

Roundtable suggests assessing public opinion through BTV


A national consensus is needed before bringing any amendment to the constitution, said constitution experts and eminent citizens at a roundtable yesterday.

Some of them suggested using the Bangladesh Television to assess public opinions, while some suggested formation of a constitution commission or an expert committee.

The roundtable on Constitutional Amendment: Relative Thoughts and Citizen's Concern was organised by Shushashoner Jonney Nagarik (Shujan), a platform of civil society members, at the Jatiya Press Club.
Eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain said there should be national unity on bringing an amendment to the constitution. The national broadcasting media should be used in bringing people's voice about it and creating a national consensus, he added.
"The court's verdict regarding constitutional amendments can be made effective without bringing further amendments. The parliamentary special committee on constitutional amendment should make their priorities clear to the people and hear their voices," he observed.
"Every citizen has the right to give opinions on the issue of constitutional amendment," added Dr Kamal, who was the chairman of the committee for drafting the first constitution in 1972.
Shujan President Prof Muzaffer Ahmad, who chaired the discussion, said the court's verdict regarding the constitutional amendments should be implemented first; then the amendments that have damaged its basic spirit should be done away with; and finally, necessary laws should be passed in parliament to protect the constitution.
"We now need a constitution commission. Also a people's commission should be formed to keep pressure on the MPs to form the constitution commission," Prof Muzaffer added.
Another eminent jurist Amirul Islam said all the amendments to the constitution are controversial.
"To resist unconstitutional takeover of power, a total unequivocal will of the citizens is needed that they will not accept any unconstitutional government," he said.
Prof Asif Nazrul of Dhaka University said the constitution of 1972 was the best for the country, but it was destroyed by subsequent governments.
Shujan General Secretary Dr Badiul Alam Majumder said any amendment to the constitution should be brought through a national consensus. If it is done unilaterally, problems will arise, he observed.
Eminent lawyer Shahdin Malik presented the keynote paper in which he discussed the way the process of constitutional amendments is progressing
Daily Star 

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