• Md. Emdadul Haque Southeast University,


Since inception, the constitution and constitutional amendments in Bangladesh have encountered multifarious controversies. Immature political culture and confrontational political practices have now plunged the nation into deep crisis grappling with bad governance. Democratic deficiency in political parties and overt politicisation of democratic institutions targeting political maneuvering has been the most serious impediment for nurturing and raising the ‘third wave of democracy’ emerged with the 12th amendment of the constitution in 1991. The sharp manipulation of constitutional amendments for political gain in the country is carried out by Awami League (AL), Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jatiya Party (JP). These trios are more or less equally responsible for the present status of constitutional politics and fragile democracy. However, as a guardian of constitution, the Supreme Court (SC) under the constitutional mandates has tried to protect the sacred document emanated from the will of the people. Like the legislatures the political value loaded role of judges in deciding the constitutionality of some amendments is not beyond question. Now it is a daunting challenge for the lawmakers, politicians, judges, other intelligentsia to overcome the existing political hurdles and constitutional crisis of the nation. This study analyses the political context of the constitutional amendments in Bangladesh and their impacts along with their aftermaths. This study also sheds light on the past and present trends of politicisation and ramifications of the deleted and existing amendments with some recommendations for the amelioration of the present crisis.   

Author Biography

Md. Emdadul Haque, Southeast University,

Assistant Professor at the Department of Law and Justice of  Southeast University,


Abdul Haque vs. Fazlul Quder Chowdhury, (1963) PLD Dac.

Abdul Mannan Khan vs. Government of Bangladesh, (2012), 64 DLR (AD) 169.

Ahmed, A. M. (2009). Media, Politics and Emergence of Democracy in Bangladesh, Canadian Journal of Media Studies, 5(1), 50-69.

Ahmed, M. (1991). Bangladesh: Era of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, UPL, Dhaka, 102.

Ahsan, S. B. (2017 April 25). Do not give us the Muslim League Again…, Retrieved from

Alam, M. S. (2015 November 3). 43 years of our constitution, The Daily Star.

Anisuzzaman, M. (2002). The Identity Question and Politics’ in Rounaq Jahan, (ed.) Bangladesh: Promise and Performance, Dhaka: The University Press Ltd. (UPL), Dhaka.

Asaduzzaman Siddiqui and Others vs. Bangladesh, Writ Petition No. 9989, (2014), Decision on 5 May 2016.

Anwar Hossain Chowdhury vs. Bangladesh, (1989) 41 DLR (AD) 165.

Azad, E. and Wadud, P. (2017 November 7). Interview of Ridwanul Hoque titled ‘The risk of abusive constitutionalism, The Daily Star.

Bangladesh Italian Marble Works Ltd. vs. Bangladesh, (2006), BLT (Special) (HCD) 1. (2010 December 23). Retrieved from

Bergman, D. (2016 March 28). Bangladesh Court upholds Islam as religion of the state, Al Jazeeera, Retrieved from

Binkley, W. E. and Moos, M. C. (1952). A Grammer of American politics, New York, 6.

Chowdhury, M. Y. K. (2015). Removal of Judges under 16th Amendment of Bangladesh Constitution: A Euphemism to Curb on Judiciary, DIU Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Vol. 3, 89-102.

Chowdhury, R. (2014). The Doctrine of Basic Structure in Bangladesh: From ‘Calfpath’ to Matryoshka Dolls, Bangladesh Journal of Law, 14(1& 2), 43-88.

Cooray, LJM (1979), Conventions, The Australian Constitution and the Future, Legal Books, Sydney.

Dellinger, W. (1983). The Legitimacy of Constitutional Change: Rethinking the Amendment Process, Harvard Law Review, 97, 386-432.

Denning, B.P. and Vile, J. R. (2002), The Relevance of Constitutional Amendments: A Response to David Strauss, Tulane Law Review, 77, 247.

Elsner, G. (2017 March 3). The Practice of Constitutionalism in Asia – Emerging Trends and Contemporary Challenges, 2nd Workshop of the Research Group on “Constitutionalism in Asiaâ€. Retrieved from

Fazlul Quder Chowdhury vs. Md. Abdul Haque, (1963), PLD SC 486.

Government of Bangladesh and Others vs. Asaduzzaman Siddiqui and Others, (2017), Civil Appeal No. 6, Decision on 3 July 2017.

Gray, C. B. (1999). (ed.), Philosophy of Law: An Encyclopedia, Garland Publishing. Co, I, 31-32.

Golak Nath vs. State of Punjab, (1967), AIR 1967 SC.

Hamidul Huq Chowdhury vs. Bangladesh, (1992) 44 DLR 381.

Haque, M. M. (2015). Inter-Party Conflict in Bangladesh: A Theoretical Overview, International Journal of Afro-Asian Studies, 6(1 & 2), 21-30.

Hasan, M. and Mahdi, S. (2017 August 21). Interview of Sarkar Ali Akkas titled ‘Re-imployment of retired judges must be stopped’, The New Age. Retrieved from

Hamidul Huq Chowdhury vs. Bangladesh, (1981), 33 DLR (HCD) 381.

Hasmi, T. (2017 February 4). Corruption in Bangladesh: Perceptions vs.

Hossain, K. (2013). Bangladesh: Quest for Freedom and Justice, UPL, Dhaka, 135-156.

Hossain, M. (2016 March 28). Keeping Islam as State Religion in Bangladesh Triggers Mixed Reactions, VOA News, Retrieved from

Hossain, M. S. (2012). Electoral Reform in Bangladesh 1972 -2008, Palok Publishers, Dhaka.

Hoque, R. (2013). Constitutionalism and the Judiciary in Bangladesh, in Sunil Khilnanai, Vikram Raghanvan and Arun K. Thiruvengada (eds), Comparative Constitutionalism in South Asia, Oxford: New Delhi, Chapter X, 303-340.

Huntington, S. P. (1991). Democracy’s Third Wave, Journal of Democracy 2(2), 12-34.

Islam, M. (2002). Constitutional Law of Bangladesh, 2nd Edition, Mullick Brothers, Dhaka, 17-23.

Islam, M. M. (2013). The Toxic Politics of Bangladesh: A Bipolar Competitive Neopatrimonial State?, Asian Journal of Political Science, 21( 2), 148-168.

Islam, M. M. (2014). The Politics behind Passage of Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Its Provisions: A Modest Analysis, Public Policy and Administration Research, 4(9), 55-66.

Islam, R. I. (2016). Judges as Legislators: benevolent exercise of powers by the higher judiciary in Bangladesh with not so benevolent consequences, Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, 16(2), 219-234.

Jahan, R. (2015). Political Parties in Bangladesh: Challenges of Democratization, Prothoma.

Kesavananda Bharati vs. The State of Kerala case, (1973) AIR 1973 SC.

Khan, A. A. (2015).The Politics of constitutional amendments in Bangladesh: the case of the non-political caretaker government, International Review of Law,9, Retrieved from

Khan, S. (2015 March 8). Prof. Abdur Razzaq on India’s Partition and Independence, The Daily Star. Retrieved from prof-abdur-razzaq-on-indias-partition-and-independence-57586

Khondhker Delwar Hossain v. Bangladesh Italian Marble Works Ltd and Others, (2010), 62 DLR (AD) 298.

Krishnaswamy, S. (2009). Democracy and Constitutionalism in India: A Study of the Basic Structure Doctrine, Oxford University Press.

Liton, S. (2015 October 14). Business factor in our politics, The Daily Star. Retrieved from

Maniruzzaman, T. (1988). The Bangladesh Revolution and Its Aftermath, 2nd Edition, UPL, Dhaka, 184-185.

Majumdar, B. A. (2013 March 17). Which way towards free, fair and meaningful elections?, The Daily Star.

McClellan, J. (1989). Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government. Retrieved from

Miazee, M. (2017 November 20). Akbar Ali Khan: Parties should sit across table, The Dhaka Tribune.

Muigai, G. (2006). Overhaul or Amend -A Discourse on the Future of Constitutional Change in Kenya, East African Journal of Human Rights and Democracy, 4, 5-18.

Parliament Debates, Government of Bangladesh. (1972 October 12). Dhaka, 20.

Rahman, M. R. (2012). Unfinished Memoirs, Autobiography, UPL, Dhaka, 126.

Rahman, M. R. (2012). Unfinished Memoirs, Autobiography, UPL, Dhaka, 302-303.

Reality, The Daily Star. Retrieved from

Riaz, R. (2013 November 20). Bangladesh in Turmoil: A Nation on the Brink?, Testimony before the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific Committee on the Foreign Affairs United States Representatives. Retrieved from

Roznai, R. (2017). Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendments: The Limits of Amendments Powers, Oxford University Press, 20-21.

Sarkar, A. (2011). Caretaker system declared illegal, The Daily Star, 11 May 2011, see link: (last accessed on November 17, 2017).

Saleem Ullah v. Bangladesh, (2005), 57 DLR (HCD) 171.

Salik, S. (1977). Witness to Surrender, Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan.

Sachs, A. (1990). Protecting Human Rights in New South Africa, Oxford University Press, Cape Town, vi.

Secretary, Ministry of Finance vs. Masdar Hossain, (1999) 52 DLR (AD) 82.

Siddique Ahmed v. Bangladesh, (2011) 33 BLD (HCD) 84.

Sobhan, R. (2000). Mediating Political Conflict in a Confrontational Environment: The Experience of the

G-5, Journal of Bangladesh Studies, 1(2), 1-9.

The American constitution. (1789), Preamble, started with the preamble ‘We the People...â€.

The Daily Manab Zamin (Bangla), (2017 November 18).

The Daily Prothom Alo, (2013 May 11).

The Economist. (2013 August 13). Bangladesh’s volatile politics- The battling Begums.

The Independent. (2017 May 30). Bangladesh- 16th amendment will undermine judiciary: Dr. Kamal.

The India-Bangladesh Treaty of Friendship. (1972 March 19).

Whittington, K. E. (2000). On the Needs for a Theory of Constitutional Ethics, Constitutional Corner, Princeton University Journal, 93, 9(3), 60-66.




How to Cite

Haque, M. E. (2018). CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS IN BANGLADESH: POLITICAL TRENDS AND DEBATES. Journal of Asian and African Social Science and Humanities, 3(4), 56–83. Retrieved from