Update November 11, 2015

Dhaka 1-18 am, 06-August, 2020

Provision in the offing to prevent NGOs from making defamatory remarks

Sumel Sarker

JS

Provision in the offing to prevent NGOs from making defamatory remarks

11 November 2015, Nirapad News: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry is considering incorporating a provision in a proposed law for taking action against NGOs in case of making defamatory remarks on parliament, the state and the judiciary.

“There’s a bill in hand of the committee (the foreign donations bill). A provision will be incorporated in it for taking action against any NGO if the government thinks it is making defamatory or indecent remarks on parliament, the state and the judiciary. The committee is considering it,” Chairman of the committee Suranjit Sengputa said on Tuesday.

He came up with the disclosure at a press conference at the Parliament Media Centre after the 21st meeting of the parliamentary watchdog held at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.

On September 1, the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Bill 2015 was placed in parliament and it was sent to the parliamentary watchdog for scrutiny.

The ruling Awami League leader said the NGOs became parallel of the government and the state although they are entitled to do service-oriented works only and they have no such right of going beyond their jurisdiction.

“They might have some questions regarding the election but the political parties will talk on the issue. Why NGO? Dr Iftekharuzzaman made some comments which are unaccepted and defamatory,” he said.

Expressing grievances against TIB, the ruling party lawmaker said, “They termed parliament a stage for puppet show. Who are you? You are none but an NGO. You bring foreign fund. What it said is filthy.”

Suranjit said their position is not against any NGO and the other NGOs have to make clear whether Iftekhar is their spokesperson. “If they say yes then the situation is one and if they say no then the situation would be otherwise.”

Reminding the TIB of his Monday’s ultimatum to seek apology within three days, he said, “They have to withdraw the remarks within the timeframe.”

Alleging that TIB has crossed the limit, the committee chairman said, “They have crossed the social, legal and constitutional limits. Today, Awami League is in power, tomorrow BNP might come to power, day after tomorrow Jatiya Party might come to power. Who is he?”

Suranjit said undermining an institution on ‘political consideration’ would be branded as an ‘ulterior motive and hatred’. “Why parliament is their target? Do they want anything unconstitutional?” he asked.

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