04. Chapter III - Chapter Three Background of the Criminal...

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Chapter Three Background of the Criminal Justice System 3.1. Historical Development The criminal justice system, that we see today, has not grown over a night. It took centuries and inexhaustible efforts to get constructed. Historians address three epochs behind today’s picture. These epochs take both praise and responsibility to construct today’s criminal justice system. To some it may seem immaterial to over look the background for understanding present context of the criminal justice system, but without pointing out the mechanism and its development, it will not be comfortable for anyone to get an inclusive thought about the same. Therefore, the discussion progresses toward those three epochs. The three epochs, on the basis of timeline, are, Hindu Period, Muslim Period, and British Period. Some historians also refer Pakistani Period to be one of these epochs, even though it did not make any remarkable influence to the system. But this discussion will focus on the first three, as referred. 3.1.1. Hindu Period At the very core of today’s Bangladesh the Hindus ruled the land and religion. They stayed as majority for almost 1500 years. They followed their religious views and thoughts to administer the land, and so did for adjudication which was comprised with courts of different levels. The Hindu rulers settled courts at villages and towns, and most importantly they settled the King’s Court, as the supreme court of the land. The King’s Court was considered the fountain of Justice. The King himself resolved matters before his court by taking advice
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from learned Brahmins. He was entrusted with the supreme authority of the administration of justice in his kingdom. 1 The Judges at courts, other than the King’s Court, were appointed on the basis of caste and sex. They preferred Brahmins to be Judge and prohibited women to be one. Moreover, they valued caste and sex in case of awarding punishment to the guilt. Among many forms of punishment they followed a customary punishment, on the basis of their religious belief. In absence of any concrete evidence, they would punish the guilt by ordeals. They followed different categories of ordeal which was believed to be a rightful way of punishment. When the accused is injured through an ordeal, he would have been considered to be guilty and purified by the same punishment. However, they exempted person from any punishment, being of certain age. 3.1.2. Muslim Period In 1100 A.D. the Turkish Muslim invaded the Indian sub-continent and started to conquer all of its states gradually. Besides, they started to extend Islam at a greater intensity, which resulted the fall of Hinduism. The Muslims started to administer the states and adjudicate matters on the basis of Qur’an and Hadith . According to Qur’an , sovereignty lies in Allah (God) and the King is His humble servant to carry out His will on the earth.
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