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July 11, 2004 

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Govt introduces bill to amend criminal law
The government on 4th July introduced a bill in parliament seeking amendment to the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1958 to make it consistent with the Anti-corruption Commission Act.
Law Minister tabled the Criminal Law Amendment (Amendment) Bill 2004, terming it essential for an independent and effective functioning of an Anti-corruption Commission. He told the House, with passage of the bill, the government would neither be able to withdraw a corruption case nor to appoint public prosecutors to deal with corruption cases. These powers are vested with the Anti-corruption Commission. The bill also empowers the Anti-corruption Commission to arrest any government official on charge of corruption without the government's permission. - Daily Star, 5th July.

Cabinet approves World Bank legal immunity
The cabinet decided to provide legal immunity to the World Bank in Bangladesh, approving a bill seeking amendments to the International Financial Organisation Order 1972. Once the Amendment Bill is passed and the immunity comes into effect, the World Bank will be exempted from any legal action in Bangladesh. The bank formally asked the government for legal immunity about three years back, after being sued by its discharged staff member Ismet Zerin Khan. The government subsequently sought legal opinion from the attorney general and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. Two attorneys general in their opinions, said as a body the World Bank, is not eligible for immunity under the existing legal provisions. But officers and employees of the World Bank are eligible for such a privilege, they added. However the Asian Development Bank in 1973 and also other UN organisations are enjoying the similar facility. -New Age, 5th July.

Manik Shaha Murder, Court accepts charge sheet
A metropolitan magistrate's court on Monday accepted charge sheet in journalist Manik Saha murder case. The charge sheet against 12 accused in the case was submitted on June 20 to the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate by Officer-in-charge of Khulna Police Station. Four of the accused now in jail. Khulna police filed two cases, one for murder of the journalist and the other under Explosives Act, on January 19. Charge sheet in the case under Explosives Act was submitted on March 19, accusing 13 people. -Daily Star, 7th July.

Ahsanullah Master Murder CID to submit charge sheet
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) will submit the charge sheet in the Ahsanullah Master MP murder case on July 10. The four-member CID team has already prepared a draft of the charge sheet. Sources close to the team said some 25 people, including 15 of the 18 accused in the first information report (FIR). The slain lawmaker's brother lodged the case accusing 17 people of the murder. State Minister for Home Affairs ordered the investigation officer to complete the probe immediately and submit the charge sheet in a month. - Daily Star, 7th July.

CJs should have no monopoly on chief adviser's post
Former chief justices (CJs) should not have a monopoly on the post of chief adviser to the caretaker government, eminent jurist Barrister Amir-Ul Islam expressed on 6th July in the High Court. Barrister Amir said this while pointing out the drawbacks of the 13th amendment to the constitution, which the Awami League (AL) conceived of and hammered at in 1995-96 and the then ruling BNP framed. During the hearing that began on June 29 on the writ petition challenging the 13th constitutional amendment making way for national election under caretaker government, the lawyer for one of the defendants, the AL, subscribed to the amendment but said it needs to be improved by incorporating changes. He suggested the changes may be brought through consultation with and consensus among the political parties to ensure a "check and balance" in the caretaker government. -Law Desk.

Speakers' Houses in JS Complex Court stops move to gag media, denies stay prayer
The Appellate Division turned down a plea to ban media reports on constructions on the Sangsad Bhaban complex minutes after it also did not grant another prayer for a stay on a High Court order declaring construction of the residences of speaker and deputy speaker illegal on 7th July.
As soon as the bench declined to pass the order, the attorney general sought an embargo on media coverage of development work on the Sangsad Bhaban complex. The High Court on June 21 declared the constructions illegal following a writ petition filed by Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) and the Institute of Architects, Bangladesh (IAB). As soon as the government gets the certified copy of the June 21 High Court verdict, it plans to seek permission to file an appeal petition against the order, according to sources in the Public Works and Housing Ministry. -Daily Star, 8th July .

US lawmakers move against human trafficking
US lawmakers were considering how to strengthen efforts against the illegal enslavement of humans for sex and forced labour, which remains a problem in the United States nearly 140 years after it was outlawed. Washington has sought to lead the international fight against human trafficking and has threatened sanctions against nations which tolerate the trade or fail to take adequate efforts to stop it. US officials estimate that between 600,000 and 800,000 people are forced into slavery each year, including between 14,500 and 17,500 in the United States. Many of these are women and children kidnapped or lured into prostitution or forced labour. The multibillion-dollar trade ranks among the fastest-growing transnational crimes. -AFP, Washington, 8th July.

Auditor general lodges appeal with JS body for protection
Comptroller and Auditor General (Cag) Asif Ali yesterday lodged an appeal with the Public Accounts Committee (Pac) of the Jatiya Sangsad seeking its protection against violation of the constitutional rights of his office by the Railway Division. The parliamentary body is now examining the rules and regulations to dispose of the appeal, the first of its kind in Bangladesh. Earlier on July 5, the parliamentary body decided to summon the secretary of the communications ministry, director general of the Railway Division and officials concerned at its next meeting slated for July 20. A team of Cag's office recently went to the railway division to check purchase documents, but the officials misbehaved with them and denied them access to the papers. -Daily Star, 8th July.

EC decision on Mannan's poll petition after July 18
A stormy scene was witnessed in the Election Commission secretariat during the hearing of the petition filed by Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh candidate Major (rtd) Mannan alleging massive rigging and fraud in the Dhaka-10 by-election. After hearing both sides, the acting Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Safiur Rahman said the decision on the case would be announced after July 18. He advised Mannan to submit documentary evidence in favour of his allegations by July 15 and the ruling party candidate to submit his papers if any by July 18. The counsel for the four-party candidate denied the allegations claiming that polling was totally free and fair with no coercion and intimidation from any quarter. At one stage, the two lawyers exchanged bitter and hot words creating a noisy scene in the conference room of the EC. -Bangladesh Today, 9th July .

Show cause notice on jail super
The financial loan court-4 of Dhaka on Thursday issued a notice on the jail superintendent of Munshiganj to show cause as to why the court would not proceed against him on contempt of court charge for non-compliance of a court order. Judge of the court directed jail super to appear before the court to explain within three days of receipt of the notice. The court passed the order upon his refusal to release a debtor after receiving a court order. The court sentenced the debtor for civil imprisonment for six months in a money execution case on May 24 this year. -New Age, 9th July.

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