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53 Int'l J.L. & Mgmt. 6 (2011)

handle is hein.journals/ijlm53 and id is 1 raw text is: The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at



International Journal of Law and
Vol 53 No. 1, 2011
pp. 6-31
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/17542431111111863

The judicial system of
Bangladesh: an overview from
historical viewpoint
Pranab Kumar Panday and Md. Awal Hossain Mollah
Department of Public Administration, University of Rajshahi,
Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Purpose - The main aim of this paper is to analyze judicial system of Bangladesh, which comprises
all courts and tribunals that performs the delicate task of ensuring rule of law in the society. The paper
depicts the history and evolution of the judicial system in Bangladesh from ancient period to present
Design/methodology/approach - The study is qualitative in nature and based on secondary
sources of materials like books, journal articles, government orders, rules, acts, newspaper reports, etc.
Relevant literature has also been collected through internet browsing.
Findings - The major findings of this paper are: there is a well-organized court system in
Bangladesh which is in fact the replica of the system introduced by British rulers and it is widely
accepted in the original Constitution of Bangladesh. The ancient judicial system was not based on rule
of law rather on caprice and caste consideration. The executive branch of government always attempts
to control the judiciary through different mechanisms, which include the appointment, tenure and
discipline of judges from ancient period. Therefore, the independence of judiciary is vulnerable from
ancient time to present day and even after separation of the judiciary from the executive (November
2007) the interference of the executive over the judiciary is still continuing.
Practical implications - This paper opens a new window for the policy makers and concerned
authorities to take necessary steps for overcoming the existing limitations of judiciary.
Originality/value - The paper will be of interest to legal practitioners, policy makers, members of
civil society, and those in the field of judicial system in Bangladesh and some other British colonial
common law countries.
Keywords Legal systems, Law, History, Bangladesh
Paper type General review
1. Introduction
The judicial system of Bangladesh has not grown overnight or in any particular period
of history (Huda, 1997, p. 740). The present legal and judicial system of Bangladesh
owes its origin mainly to 200 years British rule in the Indian subcontinent although
some elements of it are remnants of Pre-British period tracing back to Hindu and
Muslim administration. It passed through various stages and has been gradually
developed as a continuous historical process. The process of evolution has been partly
indigenous and partly foreign and the legal system of the present day emanates from a
mixed system which has structure, legal principles and concepts modeled on both
Indo-Mughal and English law. The Indian subcontinent has a known history of over
500 years with Hindu and Muslim periods which preceded the British period, and each
of these early periods had a distinctive legal system of its own.

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