A “RESEARCH MONOGRAPH” is out come of Master of Laws Course curriculum. The “Corruption, Good Governance & Human Rights Nexus” is very sensitive issue for the developing countries like Bangladesh. As Bangladesh is a high populated country the problem of crime goes high. Most of the people live in below the poverty line. So, the execution of law as well as implementation of human rights is not easy in such area as the poverty is one of the biggest reasons for corruption. And this situation is undoubtedly a threat for the community. And for the same reason ensuring Human Rights also fails.
The topic of this Research “Corruption, Good Governance & Human Rights Nexus” is a topic with a high importance and of great necessity.
It was not the toughest but tougher job to complete this research without the help of various individuals, Organizations, websites, news papers, books etc. First of all, I am grateful to the Almighty Allah, who has given me the opportunity to prepare the Research paper in efficient manner. I want to express my deepest gratitude to my parents for their continuous encouragement and mental support and their boundless love.
I would like to thank specially Mr. Sk. Samidul Islam, my Research Supervisor, without support and guideline of whom; it would not have been possible for me, to complete this research.
Finally, but not the least, to complete this research, I have used books & bulletin from Library of Northern University, Bangladesh. I would like to thank the librarians.
The objectives of this research paper is to provide an overview of existing conditions of Corruption, Good Governance and Human Rights and the approaches by concerning states and its implications. This paper covers the situation and the perspective from developing countries and also the developed countries. Give a fully referenced overview on the condition in Bangladesh and other countries. To give recommendations with regard to developing policy measures. To discuss the cases, to find out the problems in implementing Good Governance and fighting Corruption and Give a conclusion after re-searching the facts and problems with a recommendation how it will be more effective.
This study is not necessarily a basic one; but a product of extraction and analysis from many Books, articles which are written by prominent writers and also from Internet sources. I concentrated study through many books, journals, articles national and International, Collected the study material with the help of concerning teachers, friends and institutions, studied and discussed with the concerned teachers, collected respective paper through internet browsing, Contemplated over concentrated study, Prepared the dissertation paper.
Limitation of the Research
The materials I used in my research paper, all of them were not easily available. As the topic of this research is an exceptional one in Bangladesh, it was tough to get enough information about. So, I had to depend on few newspapers in some sections. I had to go through books, browse over internet for hours. I was able to manage to collect id and password to access online library of foreign university. That helped me a lot to enrich this research. I discussed with few people to get some guideline to get enough information regarding my research topic.
Human rights as positivist manifestation of ethical category and naturalist concept are entrenched in the both domestic and international law. However; realization of human rights has greatly varied from time to time and country to country. Human rights in a politically organized society i.e. state to be protected and realized in practice need to be guaranteed and nourished by one of the fundamental attributes of reason, i.e. honesty this ethical category ought to have diverse ramification in the organization of the state. Absence of the activities of the state machinery as we understand it is one. Corruption as unreason and unethical phenomenon can poison every effort of the state for human development. Human right derives its sustenance from the common interest of the humankind to promote a minimum condition for a dignified human survival and existence. Human rights and fundamental freedoms allow us to fully develop and use our human qualities our intelligence, our talents, and our conscience and to satisfy our physical, spiritual, and other needs.
Democracy, human rights, good governance rule of law, accountability and transparency are so interrelated and interdependent that any one of them necessarily involves and includes the other. I go into discussion on the nexus between human rights and corruption; I may ponder the question if approach towards various forms of corruption and their nature. This is related 10 the impact the corruption is likely to make on human rights and to appropriate punishment necessary to fight particular corruption. While in most cases criteria for determining corruption have common grounds, corruption may vary from society to society. And again difficulty in such determination lies in the simple but significant reason that ‘corruption like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
Underperformance of governance is evident in many areas of our national life. Without improving key governance dimensions like rule of law, corruption, regulatory regime, voice and democratic accountability it is not possible to increase rapidly our per capita income and improve other social indicators. It is unfortunate that Bangladesh’s improvements in the governance realm are not keeping pace with the progress achieved in some areas of economic and social policies. Such gap it governance efforts implies that management of political regime has become a central constraint to further economic growth, consolidation of democracy, and attainment of social peace in society.
Meaning of Corruption
The word corruption comes from the Latin word corrupt which literally means a broken object conceptually; corruption is a form of behavior, which departs from the ethic, morality tradition, law and civic virtue. Corruption has man) faces .it is divers both in contents and in forms .as we imagine human rights and their essential conditions within the political organization of the society. The state so we need to identify corrupt practice within the framework of the state and measure its impact on the values and objectives.
According to Wikiepedia “Measuring corruption statistically is not a straight forward matter, since the participants are generally not forthcoming about it. Transparency international, a leading anti-corruption NGO, provides three measures, update annually: a Corruption Perceptions Index (based on experts’ opinions of how corrupt different countries are); a Global Corruption Barometer (based on a survey of general public attitudes toward and experience of corruption); and a Bribe Payers Survey, looking at the willingness of foreign firms to pay bribes.
The World Bank collects a range of data on corruption, including a set of indicators of governance and institutional quality. Moreover, one of the six dimensions of governance measured by the Worldwide Governance Indicators is Control of Corruption, which is defined as “the extent, to which power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as ‘capture of the state by elites and private interests.” Based on this definition the Worldwide Governance Indicators project has developed aggregate measurements for the level of control of corruption in more than 200 countries. Defining corruption is also important in the context of global efforts to reduce its influence in public life But it it’s not an easy task to define corruption. Webster Dictionary describes corruption as morality, state of being corrupted and according to the dictionary corruption means a state of decomposition, dishonest, rotten, pollute, immoral and bad A definition has been found in a publication of the World Bank headed “Vietnam-Combating Corruption” as “Corruption practice refers to the act of offering, giving, receiving or soliciting any thing of value with the aim of influencing the action of a public official in the procurement process or the contract execution, face, easy and artistic meaning of corruption may be an act against ethics. In a great sense, corruption means the disobedience of a virtue or sanctity.
In the administrative view, corruption has a specific meaning. If a public servant abuses power or designation or does a wrong or refrains from doing justified act with a view to full tilling his desires or giving undue privileges to his relatives, friends or any person.. Such act will be considered as corruption. Professor Robert Cligaurd of South Africa gave the following equation regarding corruption. Corruption is a universal phenomenon. It is not something new either. Corruption in one form or another existed since time immemorial. A review of penal codes utilized in various ancient civilizations clearly demonstrate that briber) was a serious problem among the Jews, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Greeks, the Romans as well as the Aztees of the New World .In ancient India large-scale corruption dominated public life .
As has been observed “corruption prevailed on a larger scale in India during the ancient period and the ones that followed” From this one can assume the nature and scale in the increase of corruption from medieval to the present time in the countries of the Indian subcontinent. One of the greatest evils of medieval administration in India was the extortion of perquisites and presents .Corruption was evident during the British rule in India. There was almost regular and systematic corruption involving almost all officials at different levels in the political and administrative hierarchy. There was an underlying belief among officials of “making hay while the sun of British Raj shone”.
Meaning of Good Governance
Good governance is a indeterminate term used in development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realization of human rights. Governance describes the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented or not implemented. The term governance can apply to corporate, international, national, local governance or to the interactions between other sectors of society.
The term governance is used to describe the way in which a country is governed. It has a much broader meaning than the term government. ‘Government’ describes the political, economic and administrative processes carried out by the political party that is in power. This can be called the government sector. ‘The term ‘governance’ includes the government sector but adds two more sectors, business and civil society.
The concept of “good governance” often emerges as a model to compare ineffective economies or political bodies with viable economies and political bodies. Because the most “successful” governments in the contemporary world are liberal democratic states concentrated in Europe and the Americas, they are often the standards by which to compare other states. Thus the term, though it seems to be something ‘hat could be objectively defined, is often very nebulous, defined in ways that are advantageous or in alignment with the agendas of aid organizations or authorities of developed countries.
Good governance is achieved under a democratic political system in which the actions of all three sectors contribute to the good of society. It is most likely to occur when the government sector has high quality public sector institutions and when the nation has a strong civil society.
Public sector institutions look after the everyday administration of government. They are responsible for the provision of goods and services such as the supply of electricity and the provision of education. Sustainable development is more likely to occur when these institutions are efficient, accountable and transparent.
An institution is ‘transparent’ when its activities are open to public examination. This means that someone outside of the institution, who has no vested interest in hiding inefficient or corrupt practices, can be appointed to check administrative and financial procedures. This makes sure that the public interest is properly served.
An institution is ‘accountable’ when it has to justify its expenditure and its decisions to an independent person or organization appointed to represent the public interest. It demonstrates its accountability through There is no single and exhaustive definition of good governance, nor is there a delimitation of its scope, that command universal acceptance. The term is used with great flexibility: this is an advantage, but also a source of some difficulty at the operational level. Depending on the context and the overriding objective sought, good governance has been said at various times to encompass: full respect of human rights, the rule of law, effective participation, multi-actor partnerships, political pluralism, transparent and accountable processes and institutions, an efficient and effective public sector, legitimacy, access to knowledge, information and education, political empowerment of people, equity, sustainability, and attitudes and values that foster responsibility, solidarity and tolerance.
However, there is a significant degree of consensus that good governance relates to politics and institutional processes and outcomes that are deemed necessary to ach eve the goals of development. It has been said that good governance is the process whereby public institutions conduct public affairs, manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption, and with due regard for the rule of law. The true test of “good” governance is the degree to which it delivers or the promise of human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political and soda, rights. The key question is: are the institutions of governance effectives guaranteeing the right to health, adequate housing, sufficient food, quality education, fair justice and personal security the concept of “governance” are no new. It is as old as human civilization. Simply put “governance” means: the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions arc’ implemented (or not implemented). Governance can be used in several contexts such as corporate governance, international governance, national governance and local governance.
Since governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions arc implemented. An analysis of governance focuses on the formal and informal actors involved in decision-making and implementing the decisions made and the formal and informal structures that have been set in place to arrive at and implement the decision.
Government is one of the actors in governance. Other actors involved in governance vary Depending on the level of government that is under discussion In rural areas, for example, other actors may include influential land lords associations of peasant farmers, cooperatives, NGOs, research institutes religious leaders, finance institutions political parties, the military etc. The situation in urban areas is much more complex. Figure 1 provides the interconnections between actors involved in urban governance. At the national level, in addition to the above actors, media, lobbyists, international donor’s multi-national corporations, etc. may play a role in decision-making or in influencing the decision-making process.
All actors other than, government and the military are grouped together as part o the civil society In some countries in addition to the civil society, organized crime syndicates also influence decision-making, particular ,n urban areas and at the national level.
Similarly formal government structures are one means by which decisions are arrived at and implemented. At the national level, informal decision-making structures such as “kitchen cabinets” or informal advisors may exist. In urban areas, organized crime syndicates such as the “land Mafia” may influence decision making. In some rural areas locally powerful people may influence decision making. Such, informal decision-making is often the result of corrupt practices or leads to corrupt practices.
The definition of good governance is simple. Government measures aimed at smoothly and effectively managing the state machinery, including its ability to eradicate crimes and corruption, the establishing of order and discipline in all spheres of public and private life to ensure security of life and property of all citizens, the guarantee of freedom of expression and unfettered movement of people for rightful purposes, the dispensation of justice without fear or favor, and establishing rule of law are the essential constituents of Good governance.
Meaning of Human Rights
Human rights refer the “basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled.” The basic rights and freedoms that all humans should be guaranteed, such as the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression Rights to which people are entitled simply because they are human beings, regardless of their nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, or religion. The conditions and expectations to which every person, by virtue of his or her existence as a human being, is entitled the right to property, freedom of religion, etc., the rights which guarantee the concrete, real human being in their occupation, their beliefs, etc. but founded on the separation of man from man, not on the relations or community of people, the foundation of bourgeois political economy. These are the rights that every human being automatically .nullifies for at birth. They cannot be denied because of the color of one’s skin, religion, age or other personal factors. Central to the concept of human rights is the protection of human dignity.
Hover is a former chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is an independent US and a vocal supporter of human rights around the world.
The agreed international standard is that recognizes and protects the dignity and integrity of every individual without any distinction.
During the 12 years civil war, human rights violations by both left and rightwing forces were rampant. The accords established a Truth Commission under UN auspices to investigate the most serious cases. The commission reported its findings in 1993 certain universal rights many argue should be enjoyed by all people because they are justified by a moral standard that stands above the laws of any individual Nation. Broadly speaking human rights may be regarded as those fundamental and inalienable rights which are essential for as human being human rights are the rights which are possessed by every human being irrespective of his or her nationality, race, religion, sex, etc. simply because he or she is a human be n. Human rights are thus rights which are inherent in our nature and without which we cannot live as human beings.
Form of Corruption
Bribery is the bestowing of a benefit in order to unduly influence an action or decision. It can initial by a person who seeks bribes W by a person who offers and pays bribes. Active bribe refers to the offering or paying of the bribe, while passive bribery refers to the receiving of i bribe. The “benefit” can be virtually any inducement, such as money, company shares, ins information, sexual favors, entertainment, employment or the mere promise of incentives. The benefits gained can be direct or indirect. It can be described as indirect gains when the benefit flow e.g. to a friend, family, private business, campaign funds or political parties.
EMBEZZLEMENT AND FRAUD
These offences involve the taking or conversion of money, property or valuable items by an individual who is not entitled to them but, by virtue of his or her position or employment, has access to the Employment-related equipment, such as motor vehicles, may be used for private purposes, offences do not include “theft” per se but only situations involving a public official or where public interest is crucially affected.
Extortion relies on coercion, such as the use or threat of violence or the exposure of dam’s information, to. Induce cooperation. Extortion can be committed by government officials but can also be victims of it. An example of extortion is when police officers threaten lo arrest extract money from them.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST / INFLUENCE PEDDLING, INSIDER TRADING
A conflict of interests arises when a person, often a public sector employee or official, is influence by personal considerations when doing his or her job. Thus, decisions are made for the reasons. This kind of corruption involves, for example, engaging in transactions, selling influence or acquiring a position that is incompatible with one’s official duties for the purpose of enrichment. An example of this kind of corruption is when a public official, who has access to information, uses the information to lake decisions concerning personal investments.
FAVORITISM, NEPOTISM AND CRONYISM
Favoritism is a general term used to describe use of power to make decisions on the personal relations rather than on objective grounds. There are several forms of favoritism. Among the most commonly cited are nepotism and cronyism. Nepotism applies to a situation in which person uses his or her public power to obtain a favor for a member of his or her family. Cr is a broader term than nepotism, and covers situations where preferences are given to favored political supporters. These two kinds of corruption, nepotism and cronyism, is easily overlapped.
Political corruption is the abuse of entrusted power by political leaders for private gain, with the objective of increasing power or private wealth. It need not involve money changing hands; it may be the form of granting favors that “poison politics and threaten democracy”. An example of lineal corruption is when political parties or candidates receive money in exchange for the good towards the entity or group making the contribution.
REASONS OF CORRUPTION
Corruption develops varies from one country to the next and there is seldom a single identifiable cause. Some of the causes which have been suggested are: poverty; poor administrative structures; judicial, legislative and regulatory frameworks; inadequate education; and cultural and social systems that condone corrupt practices. Other possible causes arc inadequate civil servants’ Remuneration; too broad discretionary powers of civil servants and a lack of accountability, monitoring transparency. It has also been argued that planned economies, where many prices are below, clearing levels provide incentives to payoffs and so does the presence of organized crime.
It is often claimed that poverty is a very important factor in the development of corruption and that true. It is, for example, obvious that the risk of corruption in the public sector increases if the rice wages are so low that they do not allow public workers to support their families if poverty was. However, the only cause of corruption it would be hard to explain the fact that corruption is serious problem in many rich countries and also the fact that most of those involved in “grand corruption” have much more than they and their families will ever need. It can therefore been argued envision “can emerge from wealth and abundance, or it can emerge from the lack of it”.
Corruption is a phenomenon that takes place due to the presence of a number of factors. Understanding of such factors requires, among other things, a kind of general framework for at understanding of the cases of corruption, especially from a broader perspective. Genesis of corruption can be explained by looking at three levels- international, national and individual institutional level Competitiveness of international markets provides multinational companies of various sizes win incentive to offer bribe to gain an advantage over competitors. At the national level basic developer strategy of any government moulds opportunities and incentives for corruption. At the same le three relationships between the government and the civil service, between the government judiciary and between the government and the civil society- also affect the nature and discussion corruption. Three areas of government activity- customs administration, business regulation ; management of foreign aid act as sources of corruption at the level of individual institution Corruption also results from the presence of a number of factors. These include rapid economic social change, strong kinship and ethnic ties, new institutions, overlapping and sometimes conf: views about what is proper public behavior, government monopoly over economic activities, softness, widespread poverty and socio-economic inequalities, ignorance, lack of knowledge’s individual entitlements, communal bonds, ambivalence towards legitimacy of government organizations, asymmetric relationship favoring those in control of state power, economic in which public officials assume extraordinary control over scarce goods and services, greed, and systematic maladministration. Most of the above mentioned factors contributing to corruption can be categorized into six fold typology. This typology contains ideological, external, econ political, socio-cultural and technological variables. Some of the major reasons as to why collude in different ways rationalize corrupt practices and tolerate corruption in a large scale because of the presence of number of factors. These are governments act as monopolies in respects, discretion that government and its monopolistic public agencies enjoy in their making and allocative roles, lack of effective accountability in government except in the nominal sense of presenting annual audited accounts and reports to parliament or answering questions in the parliament, citizens have limited information about the rules of the game and the standards of service they can expect from public agencies and exposure of the average citizen to corruption in the public sector tends to be episodic. However, several reasons have been identified from several philosophical angles.
IMPACT OF CORRUPTION
It has been pointed out that “corruption is damaging for the simple reason that important decisions .are determined by ulterior motives, with no concern for the consequences for the wider community it is now generally recognized that corruption undermines economic development and poses a threat to governance, democratic institutions and human rights. Those many harmful consequences of for example, recognized in the first paragraph of the preamble of the UN Convention against corruption, which states that the States parties to the Convention are concerned about seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies.
Corruption adversely affects economic performance, undermines employment opportunities and poverty reduction. Petty corruption raises the cost of engaging in productive activities; its burden falls disproportionately on poor People for those without money or connections, petty corruption.
In public health or police services can have serious consequences. Corruption affects the lives of poor people through many other channels as well. It diverts public resources away from socially valuable areas, such as education and infrastructure investments that could benefit poor people like health clinics, roads etc. It lowers the quality of infrastructure, since kickbacks, are more lucrative on equipment purchases. The way funds are allocated gets distorted, foreign aid gets reduced and productive capacity gets further weakened. Where corruption involves the transfer of funds outside the country, it seriously undermines economic development. Corruption also undermines delivery of public services.
Corruption flourishes because there are people in power who benefit from the present system. Unfortunately those who benefit from power are also those who have to initiate changes to check corruption. It is, therefore, important for people to play an active role in this regard. The public interest litigation and electronic and print media can be used effectively in shaping public opinion. NGOs can play an active role in taking up individual cases for fighting corruption or bringing about systemic changes. Children in schools may be mobilized to create a social climate for making corruption unacceptable. Schools can reach large numbers of children and through them, their parents and the community at large.
Corruption is socially unjust. In legal sense it is abuse of power and in economic sense, it implies plundering of state resources. Corruption violates trust and confidence bestowed upon public bodies by the public. Corruption has two main impacts on the society: firstly, it has distributional impact as it promotes inequality in society by the unjust enrichment of some of the people at the expense of well being of vast majority of people. In most cases, poor and most vulnerable people arc the direct victims of corruption. Secondly, it undermines the credibility and legitimacy in the public institutions and governments. Corruption hinders economic growth and development, and undermines democratic processes. Corruption diminishes the legitimacy of the governmental institutions by shaking public confidence in dealing with the government. Corruption lowers the flow of foreign investment by increasing the cost of doing business. Corruption creates societal instability by sowing the seeds of social and political tensions. It deepens social inequalities, causes unequal distribution of resources, erodes popular confidence in the public institutions, and creates a climate of secrecy. Corruption contributes to the inefficiency to the public administration since main motivation behind corruption is illegal enrichment through abuse of power rather than serving public interest. In this way, corruption impoverishes and degrades the quality of life of mass people. Apart from economic impact of corruption, corruption threatens social value.
Gerald E. Caiden in his article titled Towards a General Theory of Official Corruption observed : “Corrupt officials, knowingly or not, display- contempt for other people, no mailer how minor or seemingly innocent their corrupt acts. This contempt harbors within it the seeds of megalomania that, if allowed 10 flourish, will eventually blossom into grosser and grosser acts… where other people are considered expendable and other people’s lives arc considered meaningless and useless. All Corruption is a deceit, a lie; Thai sacrifices the common good or the public interest for something much less. It gives comfort to social pathologies that divide, destabilize and desensitize. Not only does it point society in the wrong direction, but it is also exhausts governmental legitimacy support the wrong kind of example for future generation. Plato and Aristotle consider justice as the master virtue from which other virtues flow. In that fair society, justice gives everyone his/her due. But if one’s due is denied because of corruption, it demoralizes the community and frustration sets in.
Corruption undermines both economic and political bases for development. It deters flow of foreign investment in a country. Corruption is vicious and symbolizes of a decadent society. The whole society suffers from corrupt practices of public officials. Gradually the society loses its confidence and trust in the government. This may give rise to “people’s power” a combination of protest by civil society and political parties to create a “rose revolution” that recently occurred in Georgia. According to the World Bank, every year corruption costs about US$ 1.5 trillion and this figure is only an approximate calculation because corruption is largely secret.
CORRUPTION AT NATIONAL LEVEL
Against the exercise of certain types of private-regarding influence, Corruption as the World Bank stated “abuse of public office for private gain.” According to Transparency International, corruption involves behavior on the part of officials in the public sector in which they improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves by the misuse of the power entrusted to them. Traditionally, his analysis of corruption is focused on corruption involving public officials and public organization as the collaboration between public officials and private actors for private financial gain in contravention of the public’s interest.
From the above discussion it reveals that corruption means an act done with intent to give some advantage inconsistent with ones official duty and the rights of others. It includes bribery also. Bangladesh has been branded as the top corrupt country for consecutive three times and placed amongst bottom countries with worse human rights record. Some rise the question what moral authorities do the US, UK have to advise us in matter of human rights as these countries themselves are grossly accused of defaming human rights. The whole world was horrified to see how brutally and sadistically the war prisoners of Iraq were treated. Still like silver lining in a cloud some redeeming features cannot possibly elude our attention. Firstly, doesn’t it speak of the free media of those countries that splashed those scenes of abuse? Secondly, is there any quarter within their land to threaten the media of dire consequences? Thirdly, have the governments of those countries indulged to question the patriotism of the concerned media men? The finance minister, in a bid to hide the gravity of our existing violence and killing spree, has referred to the high-scale acts of violence in day to day life in the developed countries. What he fails to admit is that our country’s violence, killings are whole together different from those of the developed countries in as much as our violence, killing are largely politically-linked that brings it close to state terrorism.
It is widely publicized that had Bangladesh improved its governance, law and order, corruption, it could attain a higher GDP like 7/8 per cent. That may not be untrue. But does it ensure any better life for the great multitude of people in the lower strata? In fact the gross defective distribution system in our economy will contribute to making rich people more rich and poor people more poor.
Corruption in every nook and corner of the government has reached such a stage and has been rewarded to such an extent, where the power secretary becomes the rule and the quitting power minister becomes the exception, and in the alliance ruled Bangladesh, rule always prevailed over the exception.
CORRUPTION AS AN INTERNATIONAL LEVEL
Corruption has for centuries been accepted as a seemingly inevitable fact of life or simply not taken seriously. Much of the industrialized world, however, claimed until recently that corruption was primarily a problem for developing countries and international financial institutions were unwilling to confront corruption. United States made bribery of foreign officials a crime in 1977 but other country took similar action. This attitude, however, has changed dramatically over 15 years or so. It has even been suggested that the “most significant achievement in governance during the 1990s was the shattering of the taboo that barred discussion of corruption, particularly in diplomatic circles and intergovernmental institutions”. In recent years international organizations, governments, the private sector and the general public have gradually come to view corruption as a problem with extensive negative effects. The international community’s understanding of what constitutes corruption has also gradually expanded in recent years. Several possible explanations of this dramatic change of attitude worldwide have been put forward. such as the important transformations that have taken place in the world: the end of the Cold War, the rise of new values and realities, technology and communication advancement, and changes in the states’ role and the role of civil society in issues of common interest during The Cold War when the west and the east fought for the support of states corruption as well as rights violations were frequently tolerated.
After the Cold War reformers found themselves much less constrained by the limiting debate of West-East politics and were able to raise the profile corruption issues. The western countries used to regard themselves as being morally superior when it came to corruption but as business became increasingly global during the 1980s, it became more and more unrealistic to regard the corruption problem as only an issue in the developing countries. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the World Bank began to report that there was a link between Corruption and economic development and in 1996 its president committed the Bank to combat the corruption. This change of policy by the World Bank, which had been reluctant to deal incorruption, had much impact in the international community Eruption of domestic corruption scandals in virtually all industrialized states helped to sway the public opinion in favor of combating corruption. Awareness-campaigns, especially by Transparency international and their officially published ratings of countries by increased level of corruption and the media appetite for disclosures about corruption also helped to put corruption on the international agenda.
It is now widely recognized that corruption is a problem in every country of the world and developed TCS have no cause to claim the moral ground. Corruption cases in international organizations, such as the World Bank and the United Nations also show that corruption can occur in any society and organization.
Grand corruption very often includes international aspects. Bribes of higher-ranking foreign public officials are frequently paid from abroad to abroad, through banking channels and financial intermediaries in third countries. The bribe giver may be a foreign investor and the bribe may be transferred directly into the foreign bank account of the recipient. Corrupt officials often flee to another Country to avoid detection or prosecution or try to launder the proceeds abroad.
Effective mutual international assistance is obviously fundamental to deal with this kind of corruption, the international community may not be able to prevent major corruption within a state but it can make it difficult for corrupt officials to export their proceeds or to flee to other countries.
Studies have confirmed that there is a need for international cooperation if corruption is to be fought in effective way. India during the ancient period and the ones that followed” From this out; can assume the nature and scale in the increase of corruption from medieval to the present time in the countries of the Indian Sub-Continent. Corruption was evident during the British rule in India. There is almost regular and systematic corruption involving almost all officials at different levels in the political and administrative hierarchy. Today corruption has its roots deep inside Bangladesh society. The general routinely falls prey to corruption in different shapes and a form, all not only hampers economic growth, local and foreign investments are also discoursed in the process. The availability of resources is decreasing, poverty is rising and efforts for human development are being Corruption has made our country cripple. If the visible amount of money was not gone to the corrupt pockets, it would make our country developed. But continuous corruption is affecting the legitimate rights of the citizens and creating a large gap between rulers and citizens. It is also corroding the legitimacy of democratic systems of governance. Realizing the situation, corruption perception index of TI conferred the laurel of most corrupt country to us for five times. This article aims to determine the nature and scope of corruption in Bangladesh. It touches the role of anti-corruption laws as well as governance institutions in prevention and alleviation corruption from the society. Here an attempt has also been made to find out the ways to alleviate corruption from various sectors in Bangladesh.
Corruption as a Universally Recognized International Crime
Universal crimes are those crimes that a “state may participate in their repression even though they were not committed in its territory, were not committed by one of its nationals, or were not otherwise within its jurisdiction to proscribe and enforce”. A crime of universal interest, that is, a crime under international law, can be characterized as such irrespective of its designation under domestic law (Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Trial and the Judgment of the Tribunal, Principle 1, 1950). This is what is meant by the principle of the supremacy of international law over national law, reaffirmed in the Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind in Article 2.
Additionally, action taken with respect to crimes of universal interest must come with adequate safeguards to protect the rights of the accused; for instance, the prohibition against double jeopardy and non-retroactivity. Where the principle of double jeopardy seeks to safeguard the accused from arbitrary judicial treatment under the criminal justice system, the doctrine of retroactivity seeks to uphold the fundamental objective of criminal law, which is to prohibit and punish and to deter the conduct of what is considered sufficiently serious in nature to justify characterization as a crime. An international crime must satisfy the principle of aut dedere aut judiciary, which places any state in whose territory the alleged accused is present under an obligation to extradite or prosecute him or her. The basic purpose of this principle, which is found in all anti-bribery conventions, is “to ensure that individuals who are responsible for particularly serious crimes are brought to justice by providing for the effective prosecution and punishment of such individuals by a competent jurisdiction”.
But the question remains as to whether the term corruption as used in this article meets the exacting standards of an international crime as laid down in the Nuremberg Charter and the Draft Code of Crimes, which entails individual responsibility. Under the Draft Code of Crimes, a prohibited conduct qualifies as a crime if it is of such a character as to threaten international peace and security. That is, it must, be seen as a crime of exceptional gravity or extraordinary magnitude and of sufficient seriousness to justify the concern of the international community .The plethora of efforts made by international institutions at various levels to curb corruption prove that there is a consensus all over the world that in the developing countries corruption hinders economic growth and scuttles development in a direct and tangible manner. At the most, it may be argued that there is a lack of political will to engage, and suggest innovative and effective solutions to attack, the problem of corruption so that changes are seen in the not-so-distant future.
It may be useful to refer to the fact that corruption has long been prohibited by the laws and constitutions of most states – in the old democracies of Western Europe and North America, the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. Interestingly, it is expressly prohibited in the constitutions of Haiti, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines and Sierra Leone, to mention a few. The gravity of the problem may be understood by examining the work of various special tribunals and commissions of inquiry that have been set up in several countries to probe into and try cases of corruption by public officials. These developments worldwide undoubtedly provide enough arguments for the international community to develop a consensus to treat corruption as a crime punishable under international law.
Anti-corruption Efforts at International Level
Globalization has brought the slates closer. Inter-dependence of states in economic, political, socio-cultural, and technical-technological and many other fields has increased manifold. Common problems of the states are fast multiplying. Whether it is environmental sustainability of our planet, or fighting diseases, poverty, corruption and crime, or protection of human rights, international cooperation has become a categorical imperative.
Human rights are one area where international activism is most visible. Human rights indeed contain. Universal values, although there may be certain local or regional values as some scholars have argued about Asian value or Asian perspective of human rights. .Movement for protection and emotion of human rights is indeed universal. This has led to adoption of international bill of human rights in the body of UIJIIR, TCCTR and ICESCR as well as many subject based international human rights, instruments. These documents have greatly influenced adoption of national legislation many countries to protect human rights. Due to inherent weaknesses of international law, international institutional framework for the implementation of human rights has not developed sufficiently as yet, though some progress is being made. It is encouraging that international efforts for implementation of human rights are not limited only to proclaiming human rights and attempting to devise institutional framework, however weak, to implement human rights. International efforts are also directed towards effectively calling upon the state to undertake practical measures to improve human rights situations, and to fight those phenomenons that impede implementation of human rights.
States individually and international community collectively understand the pernicious effects of, corruption on various aspects of human development, human rights being prominent amongst them. Last two decades have witnessed adoption of declarations, action programs, policies, conventions at international and regional levels aimed at underscoring the negative aspects of corruption and fighting option by all means through international cooperation.
Corruption is a syndrome prevalent both in the developing and developed countries. Due to peculiar socio-economic conditions, it may be more rampant and felt more severely in the developing countries:-Bribing of the corrupt officials in the developing countries by the multi-national corporations for economic exploitation of these countries is too well-known to need elaboration. International trade foreign investment, use of foreign aid, prospective international economic cooperation can m disrupted by the corrupt acts of the government officials, causing untold damage to national economy-putting all efforts at poverty alleviation and enhancement of human rights under threat. Impact corruption in one country may be felt in other countries in the form of reduced economic gains and distrust. It leads to siphoning off money and money laundering and formation of international syndicate of criminals and corrupts.
Economic, social, political, civil and cultural rights advocated by international bill of rights can be nullified by corrupt practices of officials both at public and private sectors due to very negative impacts they are capable of making on governance, rule of law, sustainable development, stability and security. The world community’s concerns about the pernicious effects of corruption and it resolves to fight corruption have been reflected in the adoption of the United Nations
Convention-against corruption in 2003. After receiving requisite number of ratifications by the signatory states it has entered into force in 2005.
The UN Convention against Corruption is a unique and comprehensive document to provide; close international corruption in fighting different forms of corruption around the world. Some of the very pertinent issues and consequences of corruption which ‘the Convention has drawn alter to arc as below.
- The seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and secure societies, undermining the institutions and values of
democracy, ethical values and justice jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law;
- The links between corruption and others forms of crime, in particular
organized crime. Economic crime, including money-laundering;
- Cases of corruption that involve vast quantities of assets, which may
constitute a sustain proportion of the resources of States, and that threaten the political stability and sustained development of those State;
- Corruption is no longer a local matter but a transnational phenomenon that
affects all social and economics, making international cooperation to prevent and control. it essential;
- A comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach is required to prevent and
combat corruption effectively;
- The availability of technical assistance can play an important role in
enhancing the ability States, including by strengthening capacity and- by institution-building, to prevent and combat corruption effectively;
- The illicit acquisition of personal wealth can be particularly damaging to
democratic institute national economies and rule of law;
- Need to prevent, detect and deter in a more effective manner international
transfers of Acquired assets and to strengthen international cooperation in asset
Corruption can take many forms and the prevalence of the various forms may differ from counts country and even if no common definition has yet been found by the international community describe corruption as such, everyone seems at least to agree that certain political, social practices are corrupt.
Corruption and Good governance
The terms governance and good governance are being increasingly used in development liter an Governance is usually described as the process of decision-making and the process by which decision are implemented (or not implemented). There is, however, no universally consistent defamation the concept of governance. The WB, for example, has defined governance as “the exercise of power to manage a nation’s affairs” The UNDP, on the other hand, has defined it as the “of economic, political, and administrative authority to mange a country’s affairs at all levels”.
Corruption and Human Rights
Corruption has widespread consequences for human rights and produces human rights violations, both directly and indirectly. When people have to pay bribes to access food, health-care, housing, property education and jobs basic human rights are clearly violated. In many developing countries citizens have to routinely bribe unscrupulous government workers, such as personnel at hospitals and municipal offices in order to access to such basic rights or other public services paid for in taxes and government fees. A survey conducted in 2005-2006 revealed, for. That more than half of the users of public hospitals in Bangladesh had to bribe for access to : In Pakistan 92 per cent of households with experience of public education had to pay Samples clearly demonstrate how petty corruption affects the enjoyment of the basic human of the people living in those two poor countries to health and education in a very harmful way. Corruption often affects human rights in the same way. In countries where the most basic health, education and security are limited, under pressure or even non-existent, public that should be financing civic services for citizens frequently find their way to the private, corrupt officials. It is, for example, estimated that Moharned Suharto, president of 967-1998, embezzled USS 15 to 35 billion and bankers have estimated that USS 20 in the private Swiss bank accounts of African leaders alone been shown that corruption tends to steer public expenditure areas that will corrupt transactions. Therefore corrupt officials rather want to spend public resources on than education or other basic civic services does not, however, only produce violations of economic, social and cultural rights. It also threatens civil and political human rights and leads to all kinds of violations of i. corrupt governments, for example, often try to cling to power to protect their privileges and corruption opportunities that their governing positions give them. Under such i governments tend to violate all kinds of civil and political rights, such as the right to a right to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association and even the right to ” (be right not to be tortured however, not only leading to human rights violations in countries which are governed f governments. There are also serious problems in many democratic countries. Corruption in judiciary can, for example, obviously lead to violations of the human right to a fair real to the rule of law.
Contravention of the human right 10 access on general terms of equality to the public service. -Environment where the government is interfering with the media in an unreasonable way journal tends to apply self-censorship to protect their jobs. This can obviously be a threat to the freedom expression. If human rights are threatened and violated by corruption, respect for human rights can be a pom tool in fighting corruption. Human rights standards, such as those requiring equal access services, the independence and impartiality of the judiciary and fair trial are clearly accountability and anti-corruption efforts.” It can even be argued that the mechanism that is to prevent and control corruption is first and foremost the realization of a series of civil and poll rights, i.e. an independent and impartial judiciary, freedom of expression and information, few of association and free NGOs and public opinion and free elections. A media which are investigate and report on cases of corruption, not least when influential politicians are unvocal very powerful tool to put pressure on the authorities to act and to encourage the general M demand that the corrupt will be made accountable. An independent judiciary, where the appointment of judges is merit-based and the judges are given adequate salaries and necessary protection Interference or threats by the executive, politicians and other external parties, is also the implementation of anti-corruption regulations and to ensure accountability. Although corruption is not a victimless crime per se, unlike most crimes, the victim is easily identifiable. Usually, those involved are beneficiaries in some way and have inspired serving secrecy. Corruption is therefore, by its nature, secretive and responsible authority:- encounter great difficulties in obtaining the evidence required to prove their cases. The use of aid surveillance is therefore specifically encouraged by some international instruments against such as by UN Convention against Corruption (Article 50 paragraph I), problematic because of. the human right to privacy. It must also be kept in refund that if balance is not found anti-corruption efforts can lead to violations of certain other human in international against corruption have, for example, been criticized for violating the principle of the pre of innocence. The importance of finding the right balance in the fight against corruption realized by Transparency International, which insists that efforts to combat corruption respect fundamental human rights.
Good Governance and Human Rights
The mass killings in 1971 made Bangladesh the symbol of how an entire people could become the victim of human rights violations. It affected world conscience. The subsequent victory was seen as re-affirmation of the principles of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
It is this awareness, which prompts one today, to examine whether enough effort has gone in to ensure availability of human rights and fundamental freedoms for the citizens of our country. This assumes importance because human rights are the primary building blocks for good governance and practice of democracy. They are the pillars on which we develop our human qualities, our intelligence, our talents and our conscience. They also help to satisfy our spiritual needs.
On the other hand, absence of fundamental freedoms contributes towards conditions of social and political unrest. It affects good governance and sows seeds of conflict within and between societies. It is this significant factor that led the framers of the United Nations Charter to attach so much importance to human rights more than fifty years ago. In several Articlcs-l(3), 13 (Ib), 55(c), 56, 62 (2), 68 and 76 (c), the UN charter notes the need for promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction to race, sex, language or religion. The Bangladesh Constitution has similarly emphasized the ensuring of human rights for the people of Bangladesh. These have been enumerated in different constitutional principles.
Article 8(1) stresses on economic and social justice. Article 11 mentions that the Republic shall be a democracy where human rights will be guaranteed. Article 15 outlines the elements that will ensure ‘improvement in the material and cultural standard of living’ of the people right to food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, recreation and social security. Article 17 mentions that the State shall create ‘uniform’ mass oriented and universal system of education for all children. Articles 19(1) and 29(1) emphasize on “equality of opportunity.’ Article 22 indicates that the State shall ensure the separation of the judiciary from the executive organs of the State. While Article 26 stresses that any law inconsistent with human rights is to be void, Articles 27 and 28 go a little bit further. There will be equality before law and no discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 31 proposes right to protection of law and Article 33 safeguards an individual from arbitraiy arrest and detention.
Similarly, Article 35 provides protection in respect of trial and punishment and Articles 36 through to 39 ensure freedom of movement, assembly, association, thought, conscience and of speech. Article 41(1) underlines freedom of religion. However, the most important is probably Article 44(1) which stipulates enforcement of fundamental rights by moving the High Court Division in accordance with Clause (1) of Article 102.
These elements are impressive in their content and scope. On the other hand, they seem to be present in most situations in their absence rather than compliance. Unfortunately, various international human rights watchdogs have, at different times, drawn the attention of Bangladesh authorities to violations that include torture, deaths in custody, arbitrary detention of government opponents and others, excessive use of force leading at times to extra-judicial executions, sporadic attacks against members of the minority communities and groups and also violence against women.
Their reports do not make pleasant reading. They tend to indicate that successive governments in Bangladesh have failed to curb serious human rights violations arising from the use of legislation and widespread practices in the law-enforcement and justice system which violate international human rights standards.
This becomes that much more serious when one considers that the country won its freedom protesting against injustice and intolerance. Consequently, how can we arbitrarily detain thousands of people every year under administrative detention laws which deny access to judicial remedies. Quite often, governments in power invoke the Special Powers Act, 1974 (SPA) to detain members of opposition parties. Such a step is further complicated by the discretionary powers of the District Magistrate who arbitrarily defines the commission of a ‘prejudicial act.’ Fortunately, more often than not, these views are declared as unlawful by the High Court. However, this is done mostly on procedural grounds and on the basis that the High Court has to be satisfied that a person has been detained under a lawful authority. The net result is that someone undergoes unnecessary harassment. We have over the years seen many calls for the repeal of the SPA, but till now that has not taken place. Every Opposition decries its use, but when in government, defend and maintain it.
Torture as an instrument is not permitted by the judicial process. Nevertheless, it is widespread and persistent. Routinely ignored by successive government, it continues to affect children, women, the elderly, opposition politicians, criminal suspects and sometimes even innocent bystanders in the street.
One notes with regret that impunity is probably the major reason why such acts continue. Sadly, government authorities have persistently failed to bring perpetrators of torture to justice. These allegations are rarely investigated, particularly when victims arc members of the opposition parties. They arc generally overlooked unless there is a public outcry arising out of a possible death in custody.
This has recently assumed a different dimension with the many reported deaths through ‘crossfire’ while in the custody of the RAB force. The situation has become complex given the fact that while our Constitution specifically forbids torture, and it is considered a criminal act under the Penal Code, yet Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code permits law enforcement agencies to arrest anyone without a wan-ant of arrest and keep him in detention for up to 24 hours on vaguely formulated grounds. This aspect has assumed enough seriousness to lead the High Court to recently issue a rule upon the government, to show cause as to why direction should not be issued for RAB to function within the purview of law.
It would also be pertinent at this stage to remark on the inhumane conditions that exists within the prisons. We have to remember that prisoners also have human rights and these need to be safeguarded. Modern prison facilities must go hand in hand with legal and judicial reform. Another area that continues to be a source of disappointment is the inability of successive governments to separate the judiciary from the executive. By doing so, they are denying independence to the judiciary in structure and scope. The Supreme Court has rebuked the government for its failure. We have seen contempt proceedings drawn up against bureaucrats. However, the issue has still not been resolved. The authorities guided by their limited interests fail to appreciate that unless this element is guaranteed, governance will suffer. We must understand that the executive has to function under the directives of an elected legislature and the judiciary has to be able to monitor state action. This factor becomes that much more important, given the persistent criticism that judges of proven quality, seniority and experience arc not being brought into the judiciary.
Governance today leaves a lot to be desired. The situation has deteriorated because the ordinary citizen feels that a nexus not only exists between criminals and politicians but also that corruption has tainted judicial officials. They also believe that there has been erosion in basic values. Frustration has grown especially in the rural areas. Newspaper reports indicate that in many cases, affected persons face difficulty in filing suits or even persuading the police to institute a case. This has been most prevalent with regard to acid victims. Retribution, through judicial process has receded to the background.
We have been hearing for quite some time that an independent, impartial and competent human rights watchdog will be set up in the country. Constituting such a National Human Rights Commission has however remained a dream. It is also true that despite many seminars, workshops and public pledges, an Ombudsman remains just mere talk. These absences do not do us credit. We have to understand that protection of human rights is inter-linked with good governance and removal of corruption. This has to be projected at all levels.
This might be achieved by giving adequate training to the police force, investigation and law enforcement agencies on how to interview and take statements from suspects and witnesses without coercion and on how to analyze and preserve forensic evidence. After all, they are the implementation agencies. Monitoring also needs to be introduced to ensure that the police deal more sensitively with issues of violence against women and women victims of crimes. This will create an effective accountability mechanism. Bangladesh, over the last three decades, has taken many important steps with regard to international human rights obligations. It has become a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This should, however, not be considered as enough.
We have to actively live up to the responsibilities associated with human rights. This has ramifications for our economic development. Bad governance, after all is directly responsible for hidden costs becoming an integral part of doing business in our country. There is no other option but cleaning up our stable. This is the first step towards eventual poverty reduction.
Instituting Good Governance
Good governance can hardly dispense with the co-operation and support of Civil Society which is a non-government organization capable of contributing to the socio-economic and political development of a modern country. Essentially, it is non-political in the sense that its members do not belong to the category of activists in favor of, or against, any political party of the country. In a democracy, everybody who has a voting eligibility has a constitutional right to politics also. In this view, members of an Election Commission, non-party caretaker government and members of any institution of supposedly political non-partisan character may not be absolutely innocent of any political ideology and partisanship. The society in which we live in a democracy or in a dictatorship is a political society in which a person legally recognized as a criminal is also a political person unless otherwise declared by law. Yet, we identify some people to have had the least possible political identity and partisanship. When such persons well versed in knowledge and experience have capability to mobilize communities and come up with suggestions and opinions in various matters related to social, economic and political problems and form themselves voluntarily into a group or a forum in order to concern themselves with problems that face a society and try to find out remedies or solutions, the group or the forum is usually designated as a society of eminent citizens or a civil society, the members of which have populist image and social weightage to count upon. Usually Human Rights groups, welfare oriented women organizations, righteous religious and social groups, academic and research institutes bring new insight and approach to people-oriented and participatory development. They tend to become actors in relation to government, local authorities, employers and systems that have impact on people’s life. They fight for various issues and causes that stimulate people to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
Civil society organisations foster transparency, accountability and have, in fact, become essential to the development of coherent programs and projects. A vibrant civil society is a critical pre-condition for a more equitable, democratic, pluralistic and humane society. Along with civil societies, non-government organisations (native and foreign) have been playing increasing role in its multifarious facets. They bring communities together around specific issues and concerns like water-supply, small credit, saving scheme, small-scale infrastructure, education, health etc purported to develop self-reliance, reduce poverty and develop rural Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, there are world famous NGOs like BRAC and Grameen Bank whose contribution to the country’s development is pronounced and broad-based. It may be noted that these NGOs along with the famous Community Health-Complex at Dhamrai do not get any resource for their programme from the government. These NGOs along with a few thousand others depend on foreign donations, bank loans and their own meagre resource-oriented programmes purportedly for ultimate reliance on their own resource. It must be recognised that the role of Rotarians, Lions, women organisations, scouts and some philanthropic trusts have been outstanding as civil societies with their respective programmes to improve the well-being of the people and to create a peace-loving tolerant society. In fine, it may be said that if the state fully embraces the concept of good governance and implements the rule of people’s welfare-oriented law, and financially and otherwise encourages NGOs in a spirit of mutual co-operation, Bangladesh will certainly make headway towards socio-economic and politico-cultural development of the people.
A new pattern of governance is emerging in Bangladesh with the gradual withdrawal of the government from its social and economic performance role. The transition has been accelerated by donor pressure for policy changes and institutional reforms in spite of left political and labour protests. The donors tend to act as catalysts coming with the incentive of resources to implement the structural adjustment package. The doctrine of laissez faire and the demand for local self-governance which are gathering momentum under the aegis of donor countries and donor international bodies on the one hand and the increasing role of the state under the globalization ethos in most of the underdeveloped countries needed for planned development, on the other, have perplexed management of economy.
Whatever may be the perplexity in socio-economic policy and in the institutional viewpoint of governance, the most important thing is the quality of governance which expresses itself through a lot of attributes such as accountability, transparency, honesty, rule of law, efficiency, work culture, public welfare, public duty and right, security of life and property, empowerment of women and other deprived segments of the people, sustainability equity, justice etc. And for that, the effective functioning of all organs of the state in appropriate contexts and in their mutual relation as a collective combine has to be ensured.
In Bangladesh, one may come across a galaxy of persons and institutes to constitute civil society, substantially free from political partisanship but basically and primarily motivated with larger interest and welfare of the country. Various issues draw their attention, they hold learned deliberations and make diverse articulations from which emanate solutions for political and bureaucratic authorities to pursue.
Underperformance of governance is evident in many areas of our national life. Without improving key governance dimensions like rule of law, corruption, regulatory regime, voice and democratic accountability it is not possible to increase rapidly our per capita income and improve other social indicators. It is unfortunate that Bangladesh’s improvements in the governance realm are not keeping pace with the progress achieved in some areas of economic and social policies. Such gap in governance efforts implies that management of political regime has become a central constraint to further economic growth, consolidation of democracy, and attainment of social peace in society.
A modest growth in income cannot guarantee better rule of law or improved voice and accountability. Miss-governance has serious implications such as un-attainability of growth path, suffering of pro-poor strategies, lack of foreign investment, setback to democratization, inability of the political regime to effectively meet the challenge of governance resulting in security lapses and threats from internal and external forces and suffering of country’s image.
The concept of governance has changed a lot from the days of Plato and Aristotle when it meant the task of running of government. Since 1980s governance is seen mainly as an institutional capacity building initiative. The UNDP uses the concept more in terms of human rights based conceptualization of development. UN approach to development places governance at the centre of attention, because rights mean involvement in the political process of deciding things. How this process is structured will affect the degree of realization of rights.
The Challenge of Governance
The concept of government is more ‘performance oriented.’ It examines the capability of polity to mobilize and manage its social capital to strengthen ‘public realm. It implies more as a ‘regime management’ that emphasizes the notion of legitimate authority and control. The routines, practices and language through which political domination is legitimized and technology of power is created, often provide a key to understanding state of governance in society.
Governance in a ‘new democracy’ like Bangladesh is a complex and challenging task. The analysts differ in their views about various determinants of governance crisis. Some lay emphasis on mismanaged public sector, corruption and political patronage. Some others attribute it to distracted politicians more concerned with ‘polls and popularity’ rather than critical needs of the society. Some give more importance to the need for ‘business friendly regime’ and some stress the need for an independent judiciary. Whatever may be the difference of opinion about determinants of governance, the analysts agree that there is serious governance deficit in Bangladesh and its progress, particularly in controlling corruption or in terms of institutional quality (particularly at the political and administrative levels) is highly disappointing. Critical issues indicative of the deficit in governance in Bangladesh are as follows:
Law and legal institutions: The legal system in Bangladesh continues to be complex; reforms so far have been scanty; weaknesses in the country’s legal system are affecting maintenance of public order and undermining the confidence of the people and the foreign investors in our political leadership and bureaucracy.
Rights of citizens: Police administration has been accused of corruption, misuse of power, violation of human rights and other abuses. It has lost its credibility and general acceptance as a protector of security and rights, reforms in the police administration are long overdue. There is an urgent need to raise the police force as a non-political, efficient and people-friendly state apparatus.
Law and order: A high power monitoring committee composed of cabinet ministers and senior officials has been set up to monitor law and order situation. Disruption crimes (speedy trial) act 2002 has been introduced for speedy trials on certain offences. However, dominating public perception remains that police and criminal justice system are inefficient, complex and highly corrupt. The main task ahead of us is to ensure the implementation of existing laws. We urge the political leaders to take a hard look at the implementation issues. In fact, the main burden for providing and maintaining human security for all citizens falls on the political sector.
Control of corruption: The term ‘corruption’ is commonly defined as the abuse of public office for private gains. The data provided in the World Bank, TIB and other surveys show that the extent of corruption in customs and income taxes, police and lower judiciary, transport and city governance is. Corruption in the public banks, insurance and regulatory bodies are glaring; political corruption in obtaining nominations, bribing party leaders and segments of people in the electoral arena are also common. In fact, corruption is stifling democratization and destroying the trust between the leaders and the people. As social and political environment in Bangladesh is often highly influenced by the vested interests of the powerful few, the focus of efforts to curb corruption and improve governance needs to shift from a narrow emphasis on passing laws and rules and procedures within public administration to a much broader agenda of greater political accountability, transparency, and prevention of the malaise within institutions.
People have questions about political leaders motivations and moral integrity. Politics is under the control of morally questionable people, further degrading political participation. Party politics is gradually becoming highly armed, factious rather than deliberative democracy. Though political violence has not risen to the level of civil war frequent politically motivated killings continue.
For good governance reform of political parties has become essential. Without strong, accountable and effective political parties and institutions democratic governance cannot be achieved. The leaders of major political parties must refrain from promoting divisions in society at large. If they are not careful at this stage political parties will degenerate into personality hereditary self-serving political entities incapable of satisfying the expectation of the people.
Good governance may be extremely complex. If democracy functions properly people need not take their grievances to the streets because elections, lobbying, and normal legislative processes allow airing of all points of view. The highest ethical requirement of political leaders is their contribution to creating and maintaining justice in their society. Without justice there is no moral and subsequently political legitimacy. As indicated earlier the international community should support our national efforts for improved governance and ‘governance for development includes eradication of abuse of power, politicization of the administration and law enforcement. Thus it would not be correct to interpret any unsavory comments of the donor community as interference in internal affairs. Let us not be upset by these remarks or observations. Already the government has wasted a long time dilly dallying on the pressing agenda. This corrupted governance will destroy all the good efforts of the government. The government must try harder to save the country from falling into abysmal confusion.
Human Rights- Corruption Nexus
The relationship between human rights and corruption is only beginning to be seriously examined. A major premise of the ongoing research argues that corruption disables a State from meeting its obligations to respect, fulfill and protect the human rights of its citizens. .Universally recognized and accepted human rights arc well entrenched not only in various treaties but also in state laws and customs. However, their practical implementation has to overcome multifarious obstacles and stumbling blocks. While the norms of human rights are the same everywhere, variations in the level of implementation in different countries are great. Human rights withstood their implementation are not human rights, so the elimination of the causes of violation of human rights. The thrust of the recommendations made in this study are premised on an approach to human rights that offers the maximum potential for the democratization of the Kenyan State through transformative constitutional and institutional reforms. In addition, this can be done by expanding human rights concerns to include as a central agenda the social and economic rights of the poor and marginalized as well as minority rights and safeguards Embezzlement; nepotism, favoritism, appointment of public .servants for partisan political etc. Unless these vices are eradicated. Implementation of human rights will not see the light of i day, so campaign for human rights is campaign against these vices. These are undoubtedly under existing criminal laws, and are liable to be prosecuted under administration of criminal justice. Some of the corruption cases can also be dealt with by civil justice system and administrate measures. Judicial system and law-enforcing agencies are involved in fighting corruption in tradition way, which has its limitations. It has become necessary that alongside with traditional way, human rights based approach developed to fight corruption. This will substantially broaden the jurisprudential basis of fight corruption. This is likely to make the tight against corruption more transparent, participatory hence more effective. If the issues of corruption are taken up from broader human rights and perspective, it would more intimately involve the people at large and human rights institution and forums in the fight, and more meaningfully sensitize the organs of the government special judiciary towards corruption also as a human rights issue. Human rights implementation effort;; the society will more specifically be directed at individual cases of corruption and their social impact. Economic development is one of the conditions for human rights. When public funds and resource are allocated on unfair considerations, it leads to gross discrimination seriously undermining, at economic equity. When funds and resources are misappropriated, it catastrophically the development efforts and violate people’s economic and social rights. C. Raj Kumar that “in the context of India, there are estimates, which suggest that, only seventeen percent of fur: allocated by the government for poverty alleviation finally reach the poor. Former Prime Minister. Rajiv Gandhi estimated that only 15 paisa of 1 rupee sent by the government on anti-poverty actually reached the intended beneficiaries. Furthermore, out of the remaining 85 paisa, at least -paisa went into overheads and administrative costs, while 45 paisa disappeared into the corruption column. Corruption in India not only poses a significant danger to the quality of governance, also threatens in an accelerated manner the very foundation of India’s democracy, rule of law statehood. Conditions are similar in other developing countries including Bangladesh; if not recent anti-corruption drives in Bangladesh have brought to light innumerable cases of corruption involving millions of dollars which went to swell personal pockets, money that was supposed to spend for poor Bangladesh’s economic development. Worse still, a substantial part of it was phone off abroad. This is gross violation of people’s economic rights, and a stab at national efforts i: poverty alleviation. While these are corruptions of grand scale shaking the entire economy, there anti corruptions at lower levels in all sectors especially service sectors.
When people have to pay bribes to access food, health-care, housing, property, education and job basic human rights are clearly violated. In many developing countries ordinary citizens have: routinely bribe unscrupulous government workers, such as personnel at schools, hospitals and municipal offices in order access to such basic rights or ocher public services already paid for income taxes and government fees.” A conducted in 2003-2006 revealed, for example, that more half of the users of public hospitals in Bangladesh for access to a service. In Pakistan’ percent of households with experience of to pay bribes. Recently Transparent International Bangladesh has ran a suryey, report revealing the massive SCL Of corruption committed by the employees. City dwellers have to pay bribe; stage starting from getting line connection to regular supply of water to correct meter these may be petty corruptions, but violate ordinary people’s human rights on regular 5. Grand corruptions of course disrupt entire economy to impoverish the general masses. Tax is one of the main sources of government revenue earnings. Alongside with policy and admistrative weaknesses, corruption plays the dominant role in the collection of taxes. Had it Possible to properly apply income tax laws and rules, revenue earning would have more than to the benefit of general people. First, a sizeable number of potential citizens remain outside tax net. Of those who pay taxes, many especially very rich evade substantial amount in it collusion with the tax officials. Tax evasions are caused by bribing. This is one department, but for corrupt practices can substantially fill government exchequer to boost national economy.
Corruption in judiciary and politics with its impact on human rights is even more disastrous. When pie are arrested on suspicion or on false accusation for political reasons, or people take recourse the court of justice to protect life and liberty against arbitrary exercise of power, due process of fair trial is what is fundamental for upholding justice and human rights. Process starts from investigation of the suspect’s alleged wrong doings and passes through the proceedings to judgment, investigation, or partial conducting of trial, or bias shown by the members of the judiciary I the law enforcing agencies would dangerously jeopardize human rights situations. Performance especially at our lower judiciary does not provide a good picture. “Poor performance at the lower ticiary is the result of political pressure as well as gratification. Higher judiciary has of late been mcd by appointments on political consideration, without adequately taking into consideration npetency. Quality of judges at the higher judiciary can have far reaching consequences for rule of » and human rights.
Ideal corruption has acquired widely diverse forms in different countries, It may range from appointments in various government services and agencies solely on political consideration (political repression of the opposition to resorting to various unfair means for clinging to power. : have -seen gross display of these acts in Bangladesh for several years. Of them,, most despicable been rigging of the polls especially by the parties in power. This is aweful deprivation of the aple of their democratic rights of electing their representatives. Depriving people of their freedom Fchoice in the elections is the worst form of violation of human rights in a democratic polity. It ames the causes of many other violations of human rights. If we in Bangladesh to-day find many ‘our human rights trampled underfoot, this is substantially owed to political corruption. In fact, amic, administrative and judicial corruptions are fed on corruptions of the political leaders who are at the helm of executive and legislature.
Good governance and human rights are mutually reinforcing. Human rights principles provide a set of values to guide the work of governments and other ‘ political and social actors. They also provide a set of performance standards against which these actors can be held accountable. Moreover, human rights principles inform the content of good governance efforts: they may inform the development of legislative frameworks, policies, programmes, budgetary allocations and other measures.
On the other hand, without good governance, human rights cannot be respected and protected in a sustainable manner. The implementation of human rights relies on a conducive and enabling environment. This includes appropriate legal frameworks and institutions as well as political, managerial and administrative processes responsible for responding to the rights and needs of the population. The links between good governance and human rights can be organized around four areas:
When led by human rights values, good governance reforms of democratic institutions create avenues for the public to participate in policymaking either through formal institutions or informal consultations. They also establish mechanisms forth inclusion of multiple social groups in decision-making processes, especially locally. Finally, they may encourage civil society and local communities to formulate and express their positions on issues of importance to them.
In the realm of delivering state services to the public, good governance reforms advance human rights when they improve the state’s capacity to fulfill its responsibility to provide public goods which are essential for the protection of a number of human rights, such as the right to education, health and food. Reform initiatives may include mechanisms of accountability and transparency, culturally sensitive policy tools to ensure that services are accessible and acceptable to all, and paths for public participation in decision-making.
Rule of law
When it comes to the rule of law, human rights-sensitive good governance initiatives reform legislation and assist institutions ranging from penal systems to courts and parliaments to better implement that legislation. Good governance initiatives may include advocacy for legal reform, public awareness-raising on the national and international legal framework and capacity-building or reform of institutions.
In fighting corruption, good governance efforts rely on principles such as accountability, transparency and participation to shape anti-corruption measures. Initiatives may include establishing institutions such as anti-corruption commissions, creating mechanisms of information sharing, and monitoring governments’ use of public funds and implementation of policies asking this question is a bit like trying to find out whether it was the chicken which came first or the egg. In this instance, the answer is neither. Good governance and human rights develop together. Outlined below are some key principles of good governance and an explanation of how each is linked with a particular type of human right.
Human rights have indeed acquired a special position in the contemporary world because of the increasing tendency of national governments to include these rights in their respective constitutions as well as laws. This has resulted in several judiciaries around the world interpreting different human rights as a part of their own national laws or for that matter as a part of the International Law, which their respective country has been a signatory to, through treaties and other conventions. Thus the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) have acquired greater legitimacy in the last few decades as more and more nations have realized the importance of these human rights as instruments for better governance. Probity in governance is a sine qua non for an efficient system of governance and for socio-economic development. An important requirement for ensuring probity in governance is the absence of corruption. The other requirements may be effective laws, rules and regulations that govern every aspect of public life coupled with effective law enforcement and criminal justice systems.
The right to a society free of corruption is inherently a basic human right because the right to life, dignity, and equality and other important human rights and values depend significantly upon this right. That is, it is a right without which these essential rights lose their meaning, let alone be realized. As a fundamental right, the right to a corruption-free society cannot be discarded easily “even for the good of the greatest number, even for the greatest good of all” .It may be argued that the right to a corruption-free society originates and flows from the right of a people to exercise permanent sovereignty over their natural resources and wealth, that is, their right to economic self-determination, recognized in the common article of the ICPR and the ICESCR (Ndiva Kofele-Kale, 2000). Hence it may be argued that the state is in violation of the right to economic self-determination if it transfers in a corrupt manner the ownership of national wealth to select power-holders who happen to be influential in a society at a particular point of time. This violation by the state also results in a situation where people are denied individually and collectively their rights to use freely exploit and dispose of their national wealth in a manner that advances their development.
The Declaration on the Right to Development
The Declaration on the Right to Development which stated unequivocally that the right to development is a human right, was adopted by the U.N. in 1986 by an overwhelming majority, with the United States casting the single dissenting vote. The Declaration has four main propositions: 1. The right to development is a human right; 2. The human right to development is a right to a particular process of development in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized, which means that the right to development combines all the rights enshrined in both the covenants and that each of the rights has to be exercised with freedom; 3. The meaning of exercising these rights consistently with freedom implies free, effective, and full participation of all the individuals concerned in decision-making and in the implementation of the process, and therefore the process must be transparent and accountable, and individuals must have equal opportunity of access to the resources for development and receive a fair distribution of the benefits of development (and income); and finally, 4. The right confers an unequivocal obligation on duty-holders – individuals within the community, states at the national level, and states at the international level. Nation states have the responsibility to help realize the process of development by initiating appropriate development policies. Other states and international agencies have the obligation to cooperate with the nation states to facilitate the realization of the process of development. It is in this context that the fundamental right to a corruption-free society adds a new and necessary dimension to the right to development. No development process will have any meaning and relevance if corruption as an institutionalized process interferes with people’s struggles to realize their right to development. Corruption is not a new phenomenon. What is new and worrying is the magnitude and size of corruption. It has spread its tentacles to every sphere of national life. It is one of the biggest threats to development. It can tear the very fabric of the society and, infact, it is doing so. Corruption benefits the rich and the well-to-do. It enriches the rich and disproportionally affects the poor, unprotected and the underprivileged and thereby it deepens their deprivation. Unless it is checked, the governments and people will have to pay a very heavy price in the consequent result of lower incomes, lower investments and lower developments resulting in volatile economic swings. It is high time that we appreciate an urgent need to combat the deadly menace which poses a threat to the democratic fabric of our nation. It is unfortunate, but true, that growing politicization of public services and criminalization of politics have contributed in no small measure to let corruption flourish and the corrupt not only go scot-free but even earn a position of false respectability. The interconnection between good governance, human rights and sustainable development has been made directly or indirectly by the international community in a number of declarations and other global conference documents. For example, the Declaration on the Right to Development proclaims that every human person and all people “are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development” (article 1). In the Millennium Declaration, world leaders affirmed their commitment to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law as well as to respect internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development. According to the United Nations strategy document on the millennium development goals (MDGs), entitled “The United Nations and the MDGs: a Core Strategy, the MDGs have to be situated within the broader norms and standards of the Millennium Declaration,” including those on “human rights, democracy and good governance.” Incentives for corruption can also be reduced by adopting the good governance principle of investing in people. Officials who are provided with adequate education, training and pay rates are more likely to behave professionally and ethically and to regard their occupation as a public service rather than a means to self enrichment. Finally, while it is important to supply good governance through accountability mechanisms it is also necessary to encourage the public to demand good governance by educating them about their rights and providing them with access to representation when they feel that they have been treated unfairly or subjected to corrupt practices. Effective promotion of ‘good governance’ and challenging corruption requires respect for basic human rights. Corruption often flourishes in an environment where basic human rights are violated.
Firstly, provides a jurisprudential foundation for the corruption-human rights nexus, based on the argument that a human rights approach to corruption delineates rights as a part of the process of empowering people.
Secondly, the article gives an overview of the problem of corruption in India, from both a historical and a contemporary perspective, to understand the true implications of corruption for governance administration in India.
Thirdly, it examines the relationship of corruption to human rights and analyses the international human rights framework specifically from the standpoint of human rights discourse. It also provides an overview of the present international law framework for corruption prevention and outlines the difficulties in enforcing these regulations.
Fourthly, it examines the issue of transparency in governance and accountability of administrators. This will be done by vetting the Freedom of Information Act in India and its implications for the right to freedom of information being recognized both as a constitutional and a legal right.
Fifthly, it examines corruption in India through certain institutional have been attempted in confronting the problem. This will be addressed by studying the weakness of institutional and criminal law responses in tackling corruption and by underlining the need for the integration of the corruption and human rights discourses.
Sixthly, it argues that there should be a fundamental right to corruption-free service in India, fully recognized by the Constitution of India. This may result in the real empowerment of civil society and the citizenry by providing a solid foundation for pursuing their struggles against corruption. Preventing corruption and ensuring empowerment of citizens by recognizing a constitutional right to be free of corruption would bring the problem of corruption to the center of political discourse in India and could potentially transform the governance system, thus strengthening democracy in India.
Seventhly, it gives an analysis of the consequences of formulating the right to corruption-free service in India, particularly from the standpoint of the implementation of this right. Lastly, the article concludes by arguing that the institutionalized form of corruption prevalent in India and other developing countries have serious implications for governance, the rule of law and democracy.
If these values are not to be undermined, it is necessary that the corruption problem be addressed not just as a criminal law problem, but also as a violation of human rights, human dignity and humane governance. The fundamental right to corruption-free service has the potential to ensure that corruption will not be tolerated at any level of governance, as it would amount to a constitutional violation. The Indian judiciary, as well as institutions of the state and the central government that are working towards curbing corruption, and all other actors of civil society would be greatly assisted by the development of such a fundamental right. Rights bring with them obligations, and there will be obligations assigned to various individuals and institutions to ensure that there is zero tolerance for corruption and that violations will not go unpunished.
We, the people of Bangladesh, are experiencing social instability and total anarchy. Social transitions, titanic inequality, criminalization of politics and economics, lack of good governance all the factors give rise to this total anarchy. Moreover, private profit economy and satellite culture has developed a consumerist ethos, which causes high rate of criminality and corruption. We require some strong institutions (like Anti-Corruption Commission, Ombudsman etc.) to fight corruption. Simultaneously lesson of honesty and ethics should be given to every child from their home and other institutions of the society. Otherwise the eradication of corruption will remain a distant dream as it remains now.
The ultimate goal of the state is to ensure the well-being of the people and create a just and tolerant society. This is after all the purpose of democracy. While we spend a great deal of time discussing the importance of such things as ‘separation of powers’ and ‘independent judiciary’, these are but means to the end, which is to provide for the basic needs of the people – food, shelter, health care, etc. This will only occur when the state fully embraces the concept of good governance and implements the rule of law without fear or favor. We are already rated as number one corrupt nation. Very recently even the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Bangladesh has expressed his concern. Very recently country assessment strategy team with the Vice President of World Bank flatly blamed government for corruption and also asked head of the government to stop corruption. The chairman of Anti Corruption Commission has blamed political authority for this disgrace.
Corruption is a complex Hi-faceted social phenomenon with innumerable manifestations. It takes place as an outcome of deficiencies in the existing public administration apparatuses and systems as well as cultural, economic, political and social factors.
Differences of opinion still exist as to the meaning of the term corruption. This is primarily because individuals look at corruption from their own vantage points influenced by surrounding environment. But what is heartening is that in recent years corruption is viewed from a much broader perspective rather than looking at it from moral and functional angles only.
The causes of corruption are as varied as the phenomenon itself. Corruption results from the presence of a number of factors. Typologies have been offered to make a sense out of so many contributory factors.
There are many forms of corruption. To understand the dynamics of so many types of corruption attempts have been made to classify different forms of corruption into broad categories. What transpires from such a categorization is that corruption can be sponsored by outsiders, resultant of political scandal, institutionalized and administrative malfeasance. Corruption and ‘systems-loss’ resulting out of abuse of power in the utilities sectors could also be drastically reduced through more privatization and the introduction of rechargeable prepaid cards in the electricity sector.
I have never believed in calling the glass half-empty. Good governance is a factor that this Administration can initiate by separating the judiciary from the executive. They can start by establishing the National Human Rights Commission, appointing an Ombudsman and by making the Anti-Corruption Commission effective. They also have to decentralize, de-politicize the administration and the judiciary and change their mind set. Everything else will fall into place. Transparency and accountability will then take care of the rest. It is still not too late.
The cost of corruption has been enormous in terms of a country’s socio-political and economic advancement. What has been conclusively demonstrated is that corruption has negative consequences on economic growth, administrative efficiency and political development.
Checking corruption is a crying need of today’s world. At the same time, it is understood that total eradication of corruption is not possible. But that does not mean in any way that corruption cannot be effectively contained. A number of recommendations have been offered as how to check corruption in a decisive manner. But what has been realized is that in order to drastically reduce corruption fundamental changes must be brought about without any delay or hesitation.
Experiences of the Philippines, Uganda, Ghana and India have clearly indicated that corruption networks are extensive and cover within their realms public servants of all types. What is more alarming is that a rather cozy nexus exists among public servants and politicians in power to share the booties of corruption. Almost all efforts to contain corruption in these countries have been unsuccessful. On the other hand, experiences of Hong Kong and Singapore demonstrate in no uncertain terms that given political will and the institution of appropriate anti-corruption mechanisms incidence of corruption can be drastically contained.
The root of corruption in Bangladesh runs deep in history. The existence of a patron-client relationship reinforces corrupt practices in all spheres of public dealing. Almost all political regimes in Bangladesh have been corrupt. Only the nature and extent of corruption varied depending on the nature of the regime, its key leader and his popular power base.
Corruption in the public service is extensive and all-pervasive. Corruption in the political arena has emboldened public servants to become unabashedly corrupt and not bother about it at all.
The prevalence of systematic corruption in Bangladesh society can be explained due to a number of factors. Lack of political will, lack of organized movement by civil society for a change in the status quo, and presence of a change-resistant institutional bureaucracy, lack of ethics in public life, absence of independence of judiciary and media, have all contributed in varying degrees to the continuance of large-scale and systematic corruption in all spheres of Bangladeshi society. 8
However, the people of Bangladesh have the right to ask about the function of Anti Corruption Commission. We as a .nation must stand against those corrupt elements of the society to save the present and future generations from their grip. The country should not be hostage to a section of wealthy and corrupt people. They must be taken to task without any delay.
The development of Bangladesh will remain a far cry if there is failure to combat corruption. It is estimated that our per capita income would be doubled if corruption could be eradicated.
Political will is essential for the success of this initiative. Political reforms should include measures to strengthen the rule of law, the role of civil society, the capacity of parliament and to establish a transparent and comprehensive electoral process. We need to do these now to sustain as a nation.
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