Lie u ten ant

On 13 November 2010, the opposition leader Khaleda Zia accused the government of ‘forcefully and disgracefully evicting her’ from her cantonment residence. Ironically the same day, some Awami League leaders thanked her for ‘upholding the rule of law’ by vacating the house ‘willingly’.

In the press briefing, the lamenting opposition leader said, “I feel harassed, humiliated and ashamed of the way I was thrown out of my home”. But the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) of the armed forces dismissed her claim as ‘false and fabricated’. They even accused the opposition leader of hurling abuses at army personnel. The accusations, counter-accusations went on and some pro-BNP ex-military officials criticised the ISPR for acting political.

In October, a train ran over and killed a number of participants attending a BNP rally that spilled onto the nearby railway tracks. The leader of the opposition said that the incident was a deliberate attempt by the government to foil her rally. The prime minister refuted by accusing the opposition for deliberately resorting to ‘politics of corpse’. Both accusations were made even before any investigation was carried out.

In September, some senior government officials of Pabna district were maliciously assaulted. In a press conference, the weeping officials accused the supporters of the local AL lawmaker for the attack. But without any proper investigation, the state minister for home claimed that ‘the militants and anti-liberation forces backed the attack and they did not belong to the Awami League’.

When political leaders or institutions offer conflicting versions of the fact, it only means that at least one side is lying. Read more of this post

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মাশুল নেয়া, মাশুল দেয়া

Mashul Deya Neya

This Time for the Judiciary

Bangladesh has time and again been failed by the legislature and the executive branches of subsequent governments, regardless of whether they came to power through free and fair election, ballot-manipulation, or bullet-mayhem. Time and again, Bangladesh has rest its hope on these two branches in its pursuit of democracy. The Judiciary in contrast remained relatively less talked about. Well, that was until the Supreme Court’s Fifth Amendment verdict was delivered. And this time, our political discourse is even risking ‘contempt of court’ debating the pros and cons of its consequences.

However, the Indian Supreme Court has recently declared that fair criticism of judicial verdict is part of the fundamental right of freedom of speech. In the case of Hari Nagra v Kapil Sibal, the Court held that fair criticism must be encouraged as no one, ‘much less judges’, can claim infallibility. Given the judicial convention of getting influenced by opinions of neighbouring Courts, a standard evident in the Fifth Amendment verdict, this is encouraging.

With that in mind, this article discusses some pertinent matters concerning the Judiciary, using the controversial judicial history of the United States, where the Court not only holds a liberal view on contempt of court, but also has a long history to offer lessons for others.

Watching the watchmen
Ever wondered why the Judiciary has the guardianship to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution — despite the fact that the Executive and the Legislature are elected representatives of the people? Read more of this post