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  <%-- Page Title--%> Issue No 118 <%-- End Page Title--%>  

November 30, 2003 

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Is it equality before law?

Contempt of court seems to be one of the hottest issue of the country at this moment. Two very high Govt. officials have been charged with contempt of court in the last one month- the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the District and Sessions judge of Feni. In both the cases, the high court issued suo moto rule against the accused. According to the newspapers, the contempt charge against the IGP was brought for making some comment about the high court and a former additional judge. The Feni District judge has been charged because he did not met with a judge of the high court while he was in Feni on a visit. In both the cases, the accused appeared in the court in person and sought 'unconditional apology'. I don't know what will ultimately happen with the cases, but this two cases raised some questions. So far I know, there is no law in our country defining 'contempt of court' So, what are the basis for drawing 'contempt of court' charges? Often we see contempt charge being issued against newspaper editors and reporters. Few month ago, editor of four leading daily newspaper of the country were charged with contempt of court. They were not allowed to sit in the courtroom during the proceeding . But the IG of police was allowed to do so. What should we imagine form this ? The Constitution says that all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law. It is evident from the above two cases? We are citizens of a democratic country where freedom of expression is guaranteed by Constitution. We need a comprehensive law on contempt of court immediately.
Tasnima Ahmed Kakoli,
Govt. Staff Quarter, Shahjahanpur, Dhaka.


Waiting for an anti-graft body

Setting up an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission was one of the main agenda of the election manifesto of the present BNP led four party coalition government. The present government has already completed 2 years of its five year term. The government is saying that it is committed to fulfil all its election pledges. Do they really mean it?
The government set up a committee regarding the Anti-Corruption Commission. The Committee made recommendation for the Commission including its formation, function etc. The committee recommended that two ministers would be member of the six member commission which was subjected to widespread and vehement criticism. There are specific allegation of corruption against the concerned minister and those are now pending in the court of law. It is not very hard to imagine how independent the commission would be when its members are charged with corruption. Government introduced a bill in the parliament in this connection which was withdrawn later. The bill has been again hold back for three months. This creates doubt as to the sincerity of the govt in this regard.
We do not want an independent (!) commission of this type. Please set up an 'Independent Anti-Corruption Commission' which will work independently, not for fulfilling election promise only.
Mahmudul Hasan,
Monipuripara, Farmgate, Dhaka.

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