Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday criticised chief justice SK Sinha for his claim that there is no rule of law in the country and that the judiciary is not independent.
‘I don’t understand how our chief justice could say there’s no rule of law in the country and the judiciary isn’t independent,’ she said while delivering her valedictory speech in parliament before the prorogation of its session.
Mentioning that the BNP chief has so far sought time for 140 times in a single case, the prime minister said, ‘This is happening because the judiciary is independent. Or else, they couldn’t grant time extension. If we had that mentality, they couldn’t have given time,’ she said, adding that the government has not done anything like this.
She further said, ‘The court is giving time to Khaleda Zia as per their wish. Then how could it be said there’s no independence (of judiciary)? This is enough to serve as an example.’
Sheikh Hasina, also the leader of the House, said a vested quarter is also taking advantage of the chief justice’s claim and repeatedly said there is no rule of law in the country.
Posing a question, she said if there is no rule of law in the country how Bangladesh contains extremism which are a global threat.
Taking a swipe at the Amnesty International for its recent report over the freedom of press in Bangladesh, the prime minister said, ‘I want to say it clearly that newspapers, journalists and electronic media are enjoying full freedom in Bangladesh.’
Mentioning that the freedom of expression also prevails in the country, Hasina said, ‘But to enjoy the freedom, one has to perform responsibilities too as freedom does not mean to obstruct anybody’s rights, if anyone wants to enjoy freedom then he or she would have to perform responsibilities, this is the reality.’
Talking about television talk-shows, discussions and live programmes, Hasina said the participants are criticising the government round the clock. ‘They’re openly doing it... no one is going there to gag them. Newspapers are also writing against the government freely.’
The prime minister, however, said if anyone does ‘yellow journalism’, gives false and untrue information, assassinates anyone’s character, the affected person has the right to take recourse to law. ‘It’s the right of all to take protection from false blame.’
She said if any defamation case is filed against any journalist, it is his or her duty to prove their innocence.
The leader of the House said there is a section of people who always think they can get some benefits if any abnormal situation prevails in the country. ‘They think their dignity gets a boost during the period. ‘But in a democratic system, their chance fades away.’
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