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The Oracle: Critiquing Judges and Judgments: The Dividing Line (Pt. 5)



By Mike Ozekhome


In the last outing, we discussed instances in which lawyers have been sanctioned in the United States for crossing the ethical line in criticism of judges. Today, we shall conclude it and, move on to the situation in the largest democracy in the world – India – with emphasis on contempt of court (what it is and what it is not, in that jurisdiction), concluding with fair criticism as a shield or subterfuge to attack the judiciary. Kindly, read on.


In re Bank, 20-90010-am (2nd Cir., May 3, 2021), the court publicly reprimanded an Attorney whose conduct included responding to an appellate Judge’s questions during oral argument, by stating, “Are you serious, Judge?” He had also sarcastically commented, “I see that you read the briefs thoroughly”. The court rejected as unsupported and irrelevant, the lawyer’s defence that his contumacious comments were triggered by the Judges’ poor treatment of him.More serious and more likely to end in discipline are situations where lawyers directly accuse Judges of corruption, or politically motivated behavior.  See, e.g., Matter of Dinhofer, 257 A.D.2d 326, 328 (N.Y. 1st Dept 1999) (three-month suspension was slammed on a lawyer for calling a Federal Judge “corrupt” during a telephone conference).


Moving on to India, Vanya Verma writes that “while the Constitution of india recognizes the right to freedom of speech and expression in Article 19(1)(a), Article 19(2) states that laws can put reasonable restrictions on this right for a variety of reasons, including “in relation to contempt of court”. He then references another scholar (Sathe, 2001), as outlining “the historical inter-relationship between contempt of court and free expression” as follows:”since the early 1970s when the Supreme court found Keralas’ then Chief Minister, E.M.S. Namboodiripad, guilty of contempt of court for his critical comments on the judiciary as an institution, acrimony has existed between the Judiciary’s power to punish for contempt of court and citizen’s fundamental rights, freedom of speech and expression, the court has subjugated the most crucial of the fundamental rights- freedom of speech- to the Judiciary’s power to penalize for contempt of court. The freedom of speech had been trivialized by a broad contour of contempt of court. As a result, he advised, “Freedom of expression is the most fundamental of the fundamental rights, and constraints on it must be kept to a minimum”. Only the restrictions necessary to maintain the legitimacy of judicial institutions can be imposed under the legislation of contempt of court. The Judges are not required to be protected by the law. Only the Judiciary must be protected. A contempt notice issued without due diligence could put those in positions of public trust in jeopardy. The rule must be freedom, and the exception must be a constraint”

Under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, every person (including municipal councilors) has the right to free speech and expression, which includes reasonable criticism of the law or any executive action. In India, freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed both in the legislature and in local bodies. This is why a lawmaker or a municipal councilor can legitimately voice out his opinions on what he considers to be in the public good. A reasonable exercise of one’s right to free speech and expression, which includes fair criticism, is not to be suppressed for any reason.

Indeed, Section 5 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, provides that a person is not punishable for contempt of court if he or she publishes a reasonable comment on the merits of a matter that has been heard and determined; or if a person publishes a fair comment on the merits of a matter that has already been heard and determined.


Contempt is the power of the Court to safeguard its majesty and respect, as stated by Smita Chakraburtty (2017). This power is inherent, and it is recognised in the High Court’s and Supreme Court’s Constitutions. The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 regulates but does not limit this power.Both civil and criminal contempt is defined under the 1971 Contempt of Courts Act. Civil contempt refers to willful disobedience to any court judgement, whereas criminal contempt can be invoked if an act tends to scandalise or lower the authority of the court or tends to interfere with or obstruct the administration of justice.The effect on the judicial process and the authority of the courts are used to determine whether conduct is contemptuous. According to S P Sathe (1970), the intent of the accused in a contempt action is irrelevant. What matters is the impact of his act or the likelihood of it having an impact on the administration of justice. Any conduct that undermines the administration of justice, or otherwise interferes with or tends to corrupt it, must be avoided.

P Chandrasekhar (2002) went on to say that actual scandalization or lowering of the court’s authority is not required. It suffices if it has the potential to cause controversy or undermine the court’s authority.The Supreme Court of India has insisted that reasonable criticism of decisions is always permitted and that defaming a Judge is distinct from contempt of court. That was so held held in the case of Brahma Prakash Sharma v State of Uttar Pradesh LAWS(SC)-1953-5-18Under to Section 5 of the Act, “fair criticism” or “fair comment” on the merits of a final decision does not constitute contempt. The judgement of what is “fair” is, however, left to the Judges’ decision.Before 2006, even the truth could not be used as a defence in a contempt case. According to Rahul Donde (2007), “truth has been included as a defence with the enactment of the Amendment Act of 2006, but with the restriction that it can be used as a defence only if it is in the “public interest.” The Judge has complete discretion over what constitutes public interest. The truth cannot be used as a defence unless the supposedly contemptuous behaviour was both genuine and in the public interest.


Vanya Verna opines that it is the duty and obligation of lawyers to criticise the courts. He sees this as one of their most essential societal responsibilities. He insists that informed criticism of the courts and their rulings, is not only a right, but also an ethical obligation put on every member of the Bar.He lists two methods to criticise the Supreme Court in general. They are as follows:

Firstly, critic can present some fundamental principles and argue that the pattern of decisions or a particular decision is inconsistent with these principles. For example, he might argue that constitutional decisions should be based entirely on the document’s terms and the framers’ intent; that the Court should make decisions based on prevalent opinions about core values, or that antitrust rules should be read to promote allocative efficiency. Decisions that are contradictory to these initial principles may be labelled as incorrect or misguided by the critic. The critics who use this strategy base their arguments on documents, proceedings, and norms that are not related to the court.
Secondly, a critic can critique the court’s performance as an institution. This is the subject of the second type of criticism.He argues that the critic can argue that the court is too frequently divided; that it fails to sufficiently explain its rulings; or that it makes decisions that contradict one another. In other words, he could claim that the court is divided or that precedent is ignored. The duty on the part of lawyers is to identify and discuss incorrect actions by the courts, subject only to the condition that the criticism is motivated by a good-faith desire to improve the law and the legal system. Malicious or false statements about a Judge, or disruptive or contemptuous conduct in the courtroom, of course, cannot be tolerated.


Fair criticism of the position stated in a judicial pronouncement, or even other types of judicial activity, is consistent with the public interest and public welfare that Judges are sworn to serve and uphold in such circumstances. As a result, awareness among Judges that they can or have erred in their judgements would provide much-needed fuel to the judicial system. Verna believes that another perspective, a new dimension, or insight must always be welcomed; and that a realization that would enhance the majesty of the rule of law will only be possible if the doors of self-assessment, in the light of the opinions of others, are kept open by Judges.

This is why in the case of Lalit Kalita and others v. Unknown, decided on 4th march 2008, it was held that the Judiciary is not overly sensitive to criticism. Indeed genuine criticism may be welcomed because it allows for self-reflection. After all, Judges are not infallible because they are people, and they frequently make mistakes unintentionally and as a result of their preconceptions. Thus, to Krishna Iyer, J. in Baradakanta Mishra v. Registrar of Orissa High Court, (1973) “if judges decay, the contempt authority would not save them”.

In the case of Rama Dayal Markarha v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (1978), the court held that fair and reasonable criticism of a judgement that is a public document or a public act of a judge involved in the administration of justice is not considered contempt. It held that such reasonable and honest criticism should be encouraged because no one, including Judges, can claim infallibility. It held further that such criticism could reasonably claim that the judgement was erroneous; or that an error was made, both in terms of law and known facts.

However, alleging that the Judge had a predisposition to convict, or purposefully took a turn in the discussion of evidence, because he had already made up his mind to convict the accused; or has a wayward bent of mind; attributing motives; a lack of dispassionate and objective approach and analysis; and pre-judging of the issues. All these would bring the administration of justice into disrepute. A criticism must be measured by the criterion of whether it ridicules the administration of justice; or hinders it. For example, allegations of bias, predisposition, subtle prejudice, and prejudging the issues and that an investigation into the conduct of the judge will be conducted who delivered the judgment as he is to retire within a month; and a wild allegation that Judiciary has no guts, no honesty and is not powerful enough to punish wealthy people, all could bring the administration of justice into ridicule and disrepute. (To be continued).


“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses”. (Johannes Kepler).

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Voice of Emancipation: Nigeria’s New President




By Kayode Emola

In less than 48 hours Nigeria will welcome a new President, charged with handling its affairs for the next four years. Yet among the many challenges awaiting the new president, whether Nigeria itself can even survive another four years remains to be seen. There is no doubt that the Tinubu/Shettima presidency will need more than courage to keep Nigeria united for the full duration of their elected term.

Only time will tell whether Tinubu and Shettima will be sworn in come May 29, or whether we will instead have an interim government. However, one thing of which we are certain is that the era of Muhammad Buhari is over, never to be experienced again. Those who have survived living under Buhari’s misrule in Nigeria for the last eight years deserve an award for endurance.

We must not allow the expected swearing-in of a Yoruba man as Nigeria’s president on Monday 29 to make us complacent. Indeed, my Yoruba people, our task has just doubled.

Nigeria’s future is now looking more imperiled than ever before. The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are already threatening to declare their own independent Biafra nation if Tinubu is sworn in come May 29. And the Biafra campaigners are not the only disgruntled people within the country. The vast majority of our Yoruba people and even the Hausa people are becoming embittered with the trajectory Nigeria has taken since independence. At this point now, the new president must decide if Nigeria will continue as it is, or ask the indigenous people to decide their future.

It is increasingly evident that Nigeria is not a sustainable venture, and that a trading post cannot become a country that can endure the test of time. The people within Nigeria never decided to unite and become a country, so trying to hold them to ransom can never succeed.

I will therefore urge the incoming president to rethink his policies if he has not thought about a peaceful way in which Nigeria’s dissolution can be established. Powering through and hoping that he can hold Nigeria together like his predecessor Buhari did will definitely not stand the test of time.

To my fellow Yoruba people who are singing hallelujah that a Yoruba man is going to be president. I want us to know that just as Buhari is leaving the Presidential seat come Monday 29, Tinubu will also not be president for life. When he leaves what will be the fate of the Yoruba people or the other nationalities that makes up Nigeria.

At this juncture in our history, it would be the time to give the indigenous peoples of Nigerians the opportunity to determine their future in a constitutional conference. Nigeria has gone past its due date and must now be prepared for decommissioning just like several countries such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc has done in the past. If not, a dysfunctional disengagement may lead to utter chaos if not another civil considering the damage the country is currently doing to the lives of millions of frustrated youths. The rate of poverty is not abating with the currency being devalued on a daily basis putting more strain on the people’s finances

The handlers of Nigeria must acknowledge that the unitary system being practiced in Nigeria has utterly failed the people. The people must now be handed a lifeline in order to salvage a future for themselves and their future generations. Anything short of that may mean Nigeria may go the way other African countries such as Somalia and South Sudan etc have divided with years of bitter civil war which has resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives.

Yoruba people should not shout ‘Uhuru’ yet because one of us is sitting in ‘Aso rock’. If history has thought us anything, whoever becomes president of Nigeria is there for themselves and not necessarily representing their constituents. That Tinubu will be president does not stop the call for an independent Yoruba nation, if anything, the call for an independent Yoruba nation should now become louder and clearer to send a strong signal to the local and international communities that the Yoruba people have finally made up their mind to leave Nigeria.

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DNV: Namibia Welcomes First Digital Nomads




By Dolapo Aina

According to Citizen Remote, “A digital nomad visa is a temporary permit that allows visitors to stay in a country while they work remotely. Multiple countries offer these sorts of visas, and most of them have a duration of twelve months, with the possibility to extend your stay. While they may not be for everyone, a digital nomad visa allows many remote workers to travel the world while they work from the comfort of their computers. They also help the countries impulse their economy by having foreigners stay for extended periods.”

Several benefits and fallouts of having digital nomads in a country include but not limited to positive country branding by the digital nomads who are residents in their host country. Digital nomads tend to amplify messages the host country might have been trying to get across to potential travellers. On the African Continent, only a few countries have latched on to Digital Nomads and Digital Nomad visas (and it is noteworthy to state that some African countries might not term it Digital Nomad Visas but have something in that guise.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant fallouts, digital nomads and remote work have increased exponentially globally and in Africa particularly.

According to the Harvard School of Business, with the global shift towards remote work over the past three years, approximately forty-seven countries have developed digital nomad visa programmes. On the African Continent, a few countries offer Digital Nomad Visa. These countries are and in no particular order: Cape Verde, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles. Other countries on the African Continent have something within this category but officially, it is designated as Digital Nomad Visa.

On Tuesday, 9th of May 2023, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board announced and welcomed Namibia’s first Digital Nomads.

According to a statement signed by Ms. Catherine Shipushu, who is the senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, “Namibia officially recorded her first digital nomads just five months after the official launch of the country’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) on 11 October 2022. The programme was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Security (MHAISS) and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), with the aim of enhancing economic activity in the country. The first two digital nomad visa applications were approved on Tuesday, 14 February 2023.”

The statement further revealed that the Digital Nomad Visa programme aims to capitalise on the growing global remote workforce by offering location-independent foreign professionals the chance to live, work, and experience Namibia for up to six months. These digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, but without usurping jobs meant for Namibians. Early results are encouraging, with over 121 enquiries about the programme recorded so far. Of this number a total of 20 applications were received, out of which nine were approved, with five rejections. The reasons for rejection were made known to include; applicants who do not meet the income requirements of two thousand dollars per month, and are thus unable to prove that they can effectively sustain themselves while in Namibia. Other applications were rejected because they were submitted while the applicants were already in Namibia on a different legal status such as a Tourist Visa, or they arrived in the country before approval of their application.

According to Ms. Catherine Shipushu; “The launch of the Digital Nomad Visa earned Namibia international praise, from Cape Town to Germany and as far as Australia. Additionally, we have witnessed a surge in queries and applications for the DNV through our website, further demonstrating the growing global interest. This demonstrates Namibia’s potential to harness the digital nomad trend and create new opportunities for local businesses in the tourism and information and communication technologies support sectors. As an effective marketing tool for Namibia, the DNV program has also created visibility through digital nomads documenting and sharing their experiences on social media and other mass media platforms, showcasing the nation’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and hospitality. This increased visibility has the potential to help attract more tourists, investors, and talent, further stimulating the nation’s economic growth and development.”

It is said that, by design, the Digital Nomad Visa complements, rather than competes with, the local workforce, ensuring digital nomads bring their own remote jobs or freelance projects to Namibia. This approach benefits the Namibian economy and its people while creating an environment for local entrepreneurs and professionals to expand their networks, learn from their international counterparts, and explore new avenues for collaboration.

Dolapo Aina reached out to Ms. Catherine Shipushu (senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, in the Office of The Presidency) for more clarifications and insights.

On the abovementioned statement that the digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, I asked if this is the only criteria being looked at? What about those nomads who can attract global attention and global traffic into Namibia? How do you factor that into the policy? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The Namibia Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) serves a dual purpose in enhancing the country’s economy. Firstly, it allows digital nomads to inject foreign currency into the ecosystem, contributing to economic activities and growth. Additionally, the DNV harnesses the power of digital nomads as ambassadors for Namibia. Through their documentation and sharing of experiences on social media and other platforms, they become valuable marketing assets, attracting global attention and generating publicity for the country. As part of our marketing campaign, we have engaged digital nomads, who are currently in Namibia, to share their unique perspectives and experiences, aiming to inspire and attract more digital nomads to choose Namibia as their preferred “work” destination. By leveraging their presence and influence, we strive to create a ripple effect of positive exposure and interest in Namibia, ultimately benefiting the local economy and fostering collaboration between local and international professionals.”

On the two thousand dollars per month projection, I asked if this was targeted at only Western nomads only or global nomads including African nomads who might not have the same financial muscle as their Western counterparts? And would this amount be reduced anytime soon? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The requirement of USD 2,000 per month for the Namibia Digital Nomad Visa is not targeted exclusively at Western nomads. The income requirement serves as a benchmark to ensure that digital nomads, regardless of their nationality, have the financial means to sustain themselves comfortably in Namibia. The aim is to provide a positive experience for digital nomads and contribute to the local economy. The income requirement is based on the cost of living in Namibia and takes into account expenses such as accommodation, transportation, food and other essentials. The Namibian government understands the diverse backgrounds of digital nomads and aims to create an inclusive environment that welcomes global nomads, including those from Africa and other parts of the world, while maintaining a reasonable financial stability requirement. As with any programme, there is a possibility of periodic evaluation and adjustments based on feedback and the evolving circumstances.”

The launch of Namibia’s Digital Nomad Visa programme is a bold and strategic move that positions the country as a prime destination for remote workers from around the world. By embracing this global trend and offering a world-class visa program, Namibia stands to reap substantial economic, social, and cultural benefits.

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Adding Value

Adding Value: Understanding Oneself: Foundation to Success by Henry Ukazu




Dear Destiny Friends,

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom” – Socrates

Please permit me to begin this article by asking a simple question. Who are you? By this, I mean what you stand for or represent and not what the world thinks of you. It is instructive to note that what the world thinks of you is your reputation, but your character is who you really are.

If an employer wants to know more about a prospective employee, they can ask an open-ended question such as how would you describe yourself in one sentence? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Have you ever experienced a challenge or problem at work? If yes, how did you handle it? All these questions are structured to inquire more about the personality of the employee.

One of the best things anyone can do in life is not only to understand who they are, but also understand what they represent. It will be hard to know what you represent if you don’t understand who you are. If you don’t understand yourself, it will be difficult to understand other people.

According to Forbes, only 15% of the world are self-aware. One begins to wonder, what about the remaining 85%. As a transformational Human Capacity Coach, my company is focused on helping people unleash their potential. To do this, we use our self-discovery and mindset training manual to know more about them by giving them a set of self awareness questions which they are required to answer to the best of their knowledge. It is rather unfortunate that a lot of people don’t know themselves. They just exist as opposed to living.

Self-discovery is truly lacking in our society. When you truly know yourself, you will know your strengths and weaknesses. When you know yourself, you will know your boundaries as regards what to accept from people and where to draw the lines; you will know your personality traits; you will have a clearer understanding of your career path in your professional life; you will know how to interact with people; you will know your core values; you will have a clearer version of your life purpose; and you will be self-motivated. The list is literally endless.

In the journey of life, we engage in a lot of activities we are not supposed to be engaged in. For example, we study courses we are not wired or love to study, and this makes understanding difficult. Some of us apply for jobs we are not passionate about just to pay bills. Some of us even marry partners we don’t really like due to circumstances. Again, the list is endless. All these can lead to frustration and depression if not properly managed. If only we can take a deep breath and ask ourselves some deep thought-provoking questions on what we really want in life, and the reason we are doing what we are doing, the result will be different.

There are many ways to understand oneself. You can understand yourself by staying silent, reflecting about, and observing your life. These acts will help you to practice self-awareness which will ultimately help you to look inward and enable you to understand your feelings, emotions, and your personality. Self knowledge will enable you to know your values, interests, temperament, life mission, and activities to engage in.

As human beings, one thing we should constantly engage in is learning new things about ourselves on a daily basis. Knowing oneself takes time. However, due to desperation, most people don’t practice the art of stillness. When you take time to understand what’s involved in a particular work, it will be easy to solve it in a more efficient and effective manner. There is a story told of a philosopher, who fell into a ditch in front of him because he was too busy to see what was ahead of him.

Again, let’s take the case of Japan with about one hundred and twenty-five million people, which is one of the most industrialized countries on the planet, yet it maintains a level of calm despite the busy nature of the country.

The benefits of knowing oneself is priceless. It will make you confident which will ultimately eliminate self-doubt. It will help you build better and healthy health relationships by attracting the people you need and eliminating people you don’t need. You will be less stressed because you will focus on what’s important as opposed to irrelevant things which will keep your temperament and mindset in good shape.

Self discovery will help you to know your self-worth because no one will price you cheap when you know your value, and you will feel happier.

Furthermore, self knowledge will help you in decision making. When you know yourself, you will be able to make better choices about everything, from minor decisions to major decisions. Your temperament and personality type will be better managed as a leader or rational being.

Self control: When you know yourself, you will better manage yourself. If you can’t manage yourself, it will be hard to manage other people. When you know yourself, you understand what motivates you to resist bad habits and develop good ones. Knowing your strengths is one of the foundations of self confidence.

Resistance to social pressure. Self knowledge helps you to focus on what’s beneficial to you as opposed to other people. According to Bill Cosby, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone. When you are grounded in your values and preferences, you are less likely to say “yes” when you want to say “no.”

In conclusion, take time and reflect on this question, who am I? This is one of the most important questions you will answer in your entire life. When you answer this question, you have solved 50% of your life challenges. If you can’t answer this question, and need assistance, you can use the email below to reach out for assistance.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator.  He’s a Transformative Human Capacity and Mindset coach. He is also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer Design Your Destiny and Unleash Your Destiny.  He can be reached via

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