Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | ePaper
Our politics has the way of multiplying cases
A toxic political practice has been established in Bangladesh over the past few years to file multiple criminal cases against political opponents where it is doubtful to have one case.
Â Law experts say, according to the existing law and the Constitution of Bangladesh, there cannot be multiple cases against any person for the same offence. It is totally illegal, they said.
They cited Article 35(2) of the Constitution, "No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once. They added that similar provision is available in Norma Penal Law.
It was reported that at least 83 cases were filed in different districts of the country against the Editor of The Daily Star, Mahfuz Anam, after he had made a comment at a TV talk-show on February 3, 2016 about a lapse in his editorial judgment in publishing some reports from a particular source.
Â Senior lawyer and former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain who has more than 10 cases against him for being BNP leader said, "Obviously such cases are filed as political vendetta. Its consequences will damage the judiciary deeply."
Â Against Barrister Mainul Hosein 22 cases have been filed for his strong warnings that the election results would be decided by ballots cast elsewhere by others and not at the polling centres. Under a false pretext, a pretext of a defamation case was used and under the direction of the government the same case was replicated for lodging by third parties in different areas of the country. A big show of police and detectives was arranged despite the fact that defamation being a bailable offence he obtained bail from the High Court Division in the main defamation case.
Â Most of the opposition political leaders said in one voice that such cases are fabricated; these are politically manipulated and also politically motivated explained by the victims. The lucky ones who got bail are in constant fear of not getting bail extended.
As the most of the lawyers are divided as party activists of either the government or the opposition BNP, they have different views what is right and what is wrong in such practice of politics through abusing the law and the court.
Former Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed and a supporter of the government simplistically said, "If someone thinks that he/she is aggrieved he or she can certainly challenge in the court". He avoided the real issue of law and justice. The real question is why for the offence, true or false, should be filed in various courts in far away parts of the country.Â Â It is clearly a gross violation of law with an overt intention of harassing, humiliating and terrorising the person.
Many independent minded lawyers including Barrister Mainul Hosein, expressed his deepest concern to say: The people's faith in the judiciary is being eroded only for the benefit of lawless power hungry politics. The police are being politicised without caring about the importance of keeping them above politics. Both the courts and police are dragged into political controversy. When the people cannot be sure of righting the wrong through court then they resort to taking law into their hands and state terrorism is challenged by private terrorism.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, a Supreme Court lawyer, said, "Defamation is a civil claim as per the worldwide approach. Criminal case should not be filed for defamation offence. Gradually this approach is going strong."
He feels that however such is the pressure the court must not yield to act in violation of the law.
The general view of the public is that in our country politics has a way of multiplying court cases where one is too many. Besides, the public in general also suffer abuse of police power. They say that crimes by police are only to be expected.