SK Sinha’s book arrives – bombshell?
H. M. Nazrul Islam ,Contributing Editor, The New York Times, Bangladesh National Section : There have been whispers over the past few months about a bombshell from Justice SK Sinha, which has finally come true. The so called bombshell has arrived in the form of a book titled “A Broken Dream: Rule of Law, Human Rights and Democracy” which has been published by Kindle ebooks of Amazon.com.
I have only been able to read the preface of the book based on which this quick reaction has been written.
He rightly pointed out in the preface that – Judiciary is an essential and integral part of a state, and its independence is a prerequisite of a liberal democratic state. Subsequently, he described how independence of judiciary has been hampered and democratic norms have been undermined by the current government.
He further mentioned that in 2017, after delivering a historic verdict in favor of the independence of judiciary, he was forced to resign and exiled by the current government. He further mentioned that the unanimous verdict of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, with observations about the state of governance and tendencies of political leadership, was applauded by the citizens and members of the civil society and drew significant attention of domestic and international media.
Looking at the preface, it appears that Justice Sinha has failed to generalize in describing the negative points of political practices as well as demeaning of democracy by incumbent ruling parties in Bangladesh. It seemed that his personal agony caused by some of the measures taken by the current government has dominated his thought while writing of this book.
When Justice Sinha tried to highlight the negative points of political practices in Bangladesh, he apparently targeted the current government. In reality the trends of political leaders and governments in terms of ignoring the norms of democracy have been long standing ones and the current government and political leaders are just carrying the legacy from the past.
As a matter of fact, according to newspaper reports Justice Sinha himself was not free from being part of those malpractices during his tenure as a Judge of the higher courts.
Unfortunately, what Justice Sinha highlighted about the lack of independence of judiciary and democratic practices in his book’s preface is just part of the truth. In an attempt to draw sympathy of the readers, Justice Sinha also mentioned that the complete text of the unanimous verdict, including the observations was made public and people in general including the civil society lauded the decision of the court and appreciated the observations.
May be a section of readers that have different political belief will find some useful elements in his book, but as a whole general population would have been further benefited if Justice Sinha could generalize the undermining of democracy and freedom of judiciary by ruling parties and could put forward some quick win remedies against those practices.