Daily Star Home  

<%-- Page Title--%> Law week <%-- End Page Title--%>

  <%-- Page Title--%> Issue No 120 <%-- End Page Title--%>  

December 14, 2003 

  <%-- Page Title--%> <%-- Navigation Bar--%>
<%-- Navigation Bar--%>

New Electricity Act in the making
The government is set to scrap the Electricity Act 1910, which was amended twice earlier, in 1987 and 1994, and replace it with a new law in order to minimise electricity pilferage. The new law would provide severe penal clauses for any sort of electricity theft and bill-default that is absent in the existing Act. This was said by State Minister for Power Iqbal Hassan Mahmood. He told that a committee led by a joint secretary would be formed to prepare a draft of the law within 30 days. After finalisation the draft bill would be sent different bodies, including the chambers of commerce and industries, bar associations, university teachers associations and the experts in the field to elicit their considered opinions.The logical responses would be accommodated in the draft and then would be sent to the advisory council of the ministry. After scrutiny, the advisory council would send it to the cabinet for final approval. Apart from punitive measures, the law would include deterrent measures so that the same crimes were not repeated. -New Age, 7 December.

5 to die for killing Nurul Islam
The Speedy Trial Tribunal in Chittagong has sentenced five people to death, nine to life imprisonment and two to five years in jail for their roles in the brutal killing of Laxmipur BNP leader advocate Nurul Islam in captivity. The tribunal brought to a close the trial of 31 defendants and acquitted 15 of them in its verdict that stoked grievances among the relatives of Nurul, slaughtered and sliced into pieces on the night of September 18, 2000. Among the acquitted are the then general secretary of Awami League's Laxmipur district unit, Abu Taher, his wife Nazma Taher and Abdul Alim, who were accused of masterminding the killing. According to confessional statement of Mehedi Hasan and Syed Nurul Azim alias Babor, Nurul Islam was abducted Nurul taken to the house of Taher blindfolded. Taher's wife assaulted the BNP leader and instructed their sons AHM Biplob and Salauddin alias Tipu to kill him after she received a phone call from her husband. He was instantly roped, dragged into a bathroom and nailed down before he was hacked to death. The body -- cut into pieces and stuffed into a sack -- was dumped into the Meghna river. The convicts with death penalty are Biplob, Abdul Jabber nicknamed Lavu, Alamgir Hossain alias Jiku, Tanvir Haider Chowdhury alias Rinku and Ziaur Rahman alias Shipon. The charge sheet of the case was submitted against the 31 people on July 30, 2002 and charge was framed on November 5, 2002. The case was sent to the Speedy Trial Tribunal of Chittagong on September 3, 2003 that heard 39 of the 59 witnesses. -Daily Star, 10 December.

US court strikes down part of anti-terror law
A federal appeals court in USA has struck down part of a 1996 federal anti-terrorism law, saying the government's definition of what constituted "material support" to foreign terror groups was too vague. In their decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier preliminary ruling that prohibited the provision of "personnel" and "training" to groups designated by the United States as "terrorist organisations." The court also ruled that before applying the law the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a donor to a group branded as a "foreign terrorist organisation" knew of its unlawful activities. "The prohibition on providing "training" and "personnel" is impermissibly overbroad and thus void for vagueness under the First and Fifth Amendments," the court ruled. - Daily Star, 5 December.

Frigate case against Hasina stayed
The High Court has stayed proceedings of the frigate scam case pending with the lower court against former prime minister and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina. A division bench of Justice M Hassan Ameen and Justice ATM Fazle Kabir also issued a rule upon the government to show cause why the case should not be quashed. In August 2002, the Bureau of Anti-corruption (Bac) filed the case against the former prime minister and five others, including former navy chief Rear Admiral Nurul Islam and business tycoon and incumbent president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) Abdul Awal Mintoo. They were accused of shady deal in purchasing a frigate from South Korea in 1996. -Bhorer Kagoj, 7 December.

Municipality elections in May 2003
The Election Commission (EC) has decided to hold the next polls in 133 municipalities in the first week of May 2003. The tenures of 144 of 260 municipalities will expire between March 15 to August 24. According to election law, polls in the corporations will have to be held between March 15 to September 11. Of the 144 municipalities, tenures of 10 expire after May where elections will be held later. The government has allocated Tk 10 crore to conduct the polls. Work on the updation of the voters' list is going on and would be finished by January 30. -Prothom Alo, 5 December.

Indian citizens languishing in prison
Twelve Indian nationals who have been confined to Rajshahi Central Jail for more than two years although they served out their 15-day jail term in 2001. On June 26, 2001, police held 13 Indians for illegally entering Bangladesh. A magistrate's court in Rajshahi sentenced each to 15-day imprisonment under the Border Regulation Act, 1952, on September 9 and October 11, 2001. The court also ordered to push back the Indians after their jail term expires. The detainees are Matiar Rahman, Jan Mohammad Sheikh, Ramzan Sheik, Jahirul Islam, Akbar Ali, Murtoza, Abdul Mazid, Emraj Ali, Sajjad Hossain, Raihan, Muluk Chand and Montu. Another detainee, Entazul alias Injil, died in jail in 2002. -Janakantha, 7 December.

Case against OC for eviction threat
A case has been filed against the officer-in-charge and seven other policemen of Hatibandha thana of Lalmonirhat district for threatening a person with eviction from his homestead. Azizul Haq of Bichhondai village filed the case with a First Class Magistrate court. In the case he said 13 people of the village looted and demolished his house on November 13, ploughed the homestead and threatened him to leave it. On the following morning, Azizul went to Hatibandha thana to file a case against them. But OC Abdus Sobhan did not record the case and instead "threatened" him. In the complaint filed with the court, Azizul said the OC, ASI Abdul Mannan and six policemen joined hands with the 13 and "threaded" him and his family to left the homestead immediately. The court asked the district police on November 30 to investigate the matter. -Law Desk.

Cell formed to collect information
The parliamentary standing committee on the land ministry has set up a cell to collect information about encroachment, corruption, irregularities and harassment concerning any khas, abandoned and vested land and properties. The committee asked people to come forward with all sorts of information on encroachment, occupation and other irregularities. The Committee will reward persons providing information if it is right so that the committee can take proper step to recover occupied land. Encroachers revealing information about land under their possession will also be rewarded. The committee will meet next on December 28. The deputy commissioners will submit their reports at the meeting on occupied khas land at Dhaka, Keraniganj, Savar, Tongi, Rupganj and Sonargaon. -Daily Star, 10 December.

Ershad Sikdar's death sentence confirmed
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of Ershad Sikdar of Khulna who came to limelight through his gruesome murders, many in public, stands accused in 21 more murder cases. The Appellate Division upheld the lower court's judgement in the murder of a Jubo League leader in Khulna, Khalid Hossain. The High Court confirmed the lower court's verdict on January 28 this year. Ershad also has six death penalties in as many cases. On May 15, 1999, Ershad Sikdar and his accomplices killed Khalid at the ice factory in Khulna. Ershad can still file a review of the Appellate Division's verdict, said his lawyers. In case the review petition is rejected, he can file a mercy petition with the president. In the Khalid murder case, two of Ershad's accomplices -- Jamai Faruk and Liakat Laskar -- were given seven years in prison. The Appellate Division also upheld the penalty against them. -Law Desk.

      (C) Copyright The Daily Star. The Daily Star Internet Edition, is published by The Daily Star