Fundamental Principles of State Policy

Fundamental Principles of State Policy enshrined in Articles 8 to 11 and 13 to 25 of Part II of the Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. According to Article 8, as amended by the Proclamations Order No. 1 of 1977, the principles of absolute trust and faith in Almighty Allah, nationalism, democracy and socialism meaning economic and social justice, together with the principles derived from them, shall constitute the fundamental principles of state policy, and that absolute trust and faith in Almighty Allah shall be the basis of all actions. The Article also says that the principles set out in Part II shall be fundamental to the governance of Bangladesh, shall be applied by the state in the making of laws, shall be a guide to the interpretation of the Constitution and of the other laws of Bangladesh, and shall form the basis of work of the state and of its citizens, but shall not be judicially enforceable.

Article 9 of the Constitution, also amended by the same Order, speaks of promotion of local government institutions with special representation from peasants, workers and women. Article 10, also amended by the Order, enjoins upon the state to take steps to ensure participation of women in all spheres of national life. Article 11, amended by the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act, 1975 and the Constitution (Twelfth Amendment) Act, 1991, says that the country shall be a democracy in which fundamental human rights and freedom, and respect for the dignity and worth of the human person shall be guaranteed, and in which effective participation by the people through their elected representatives in administration at all levels shall be ensured. Article 12 which spoke of secularism and freedom of religion was omitted by the Proclamation Order No. 1 of 1977. Article 13 says that the people shall own or control instruments and means of production and distribution through state ownership, cooperative ownership and private ownership.

Article 14 enjoins upon the state to emancipate the toiling masses of peasants and workers and the backward sections of the people from all forms of exploitation. Article 15 makes it a fundamental responsibility of the state to secure for its citizens the provision of the basic necessities of life, the right to work, the right to reasonable rest, recreation and leisure, and the right to social security. Article 16 says that the state shall take effective measures to ensure balanced development of the rural areas so as to remove the disparity in the standards of living between the urban and the rural people. Article 17 asks the state to take effective measures to provide free and compulsory education to all children, and remove illiteracy as fast as possible. Article 18 asks the state to take effective measures to improve the level of nutrition and public health, and to prevent alcoholism, addiction to drugs, prostitution and gambling. Article 19 asks the state to take effective measures to ensure equality of opportunity for all citizens, and uniform level of economic development throughout the country. Article 20 says that work is a right, a duty and a matter of honour for every capable citizen, and everyone shall be paid according to his work, and that the state shall endeavour to create conditions in which human labour, whether intellectual or physical, shall become a fuller expression of creativity and of the human personality.

Article 21 says that it is the duty of every citizen to observe the Constitution and the laws to maintain discipline, to perform public duties and to protect public property, and that every public servant has a duty to strive at all times to serve the people. Article 22 asks the state to ensure the separation of the judiciary from the executive organs of the state. Article 23 asks the state to adopt measures to conserve the cultural traditions and heritage of the people and to foster and improve the national language, literature and the arts. Article 24 enjoins upon the state to take measures to protect monuments of national importance. Article 25 directs the state to base its international relations on the principles of respect for national sovereignty and equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, peaceful settlement of international disputes, and respect for international law and the principles enunciated in the UN Charter.

By an amendment made by the Proclamation Order No. 1 of 1977, it also asks the state to endeavour to consolidate, preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic solidarity. [Enamul Haq]