The High Court on Sunday issued a rule questioning the legality of demoting Dhaka University teacher Samia Rahman on charges of plagiarism in research papers.
The court asked the DU Vice Chancellor and others involved to submit a reply to the rule within four weeks and instructed to submit all the documents against Samia within 21 days.
The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Mostafizur Rahman issued the rule after a hearing on the writ petition filed by Samia.
Barrister Hassan SM Azim stood for petitioner at the court while Deputy Attorney General Bipul Bagmar for the state.
The DU syndicate committee demoted Samia from associate professor to assistant professor on January 28 as punishment for alleged plagiarism in a research paper.
In December, 2016, an eight paged article, “A New Dimension in Colonialism and Pop Culture: A Case Study of Cultural Imperialism” jointly authored by Samia and DU lecturer Syed Mahfuzul Haque Marzan was published in the DU Social Science Review Journal.
Following the publication of their article in the journal, Alex Martin, who introduced himself as an administrative assistant of Chicago Journal, sent a written complaint to the DU in 2017 claiming that the article copied from Michel Foucault’s ’The Subject and Power’.
The complaint of copying pages from Edward Said’s “Culture and Imperialism” was also brought against the two DU teachers.
Later, the DU authorities formed an investigation committee to look into the allegation on September 27, 2017.
The committee submitted a report in 2020 finding the accused guilty.
A panel was formed in October, 2020 making the Dean of DU Law Faculty and syndicate committee member Professor Md Rahmat Ullah the convener to recommend academic punishment for the accused.
However, Samia, in March this year, claimed that she neither wrote nor submitted the article for which she was punished. She said Syed Mafuzul Haque Marzan, a lecturer of DU’s Ccriminology department, wrote and submitted the article without her consent.
She said Marjan also gave a confessional statement in this connection.
“Indeed, the letter of Alex Martin of Chicago Journal based on which Dhaka University Syndicate formed an investigation committee and demoted me was totally false, fake and fabricated. No such letter was sent [to DU] from the Chicago Journal. I’ve been the victim of a conspiracy,” Samia said.
She claimed to have communicated with Craig Walker, the Editor of Chicago Journal, through social media and learned that there is no one with the Journal by the name of Alex.