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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 256
September 30, 2006

This week's issue:
Human Rights Analysis
Court Corridor
Fact File
Law Alter Views
Law Capmpaign
Law Watch
Rights Monitor
Law Week

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Law Week

Caretaker govt to act against agitation
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has said the caretaker government will be forced to take tough action if any party tries to launch agitation or create chaos during the interim period. Addressing a public meeting at Barura College ground, she criticised the opposition for its plan to stage agitation against the next caretaker government. "Caretaker government is a constitutional government...It will be compelled to take stern action against any agitation or indiscipline," said Khaleda, also the chairperson of the BNP.
In response to the opposition leader's call for people to come to Dhaka wielding stick and oar against the caretaker government, Khaleda said, "At that time we will not be in the government, but we will remain in the country...we want peace and we will not remain silent." She said those who want to foil the elections will be identified as the enemies of the country and democracy. The prime minister reiterated that the next elections would be held in time in accordance with the constitution and people are ready to take part in it. She reminded that the provision of a nonparty caretaker government has been incorporated in the constitution according to the opposition's demand, as they did not want elections under a party government. "Now the opposition neither accepts elections under a caretaker government nor a party government," Khaleda said, adding that people will thwart any move to create constitutional vacuum through chaos and indiscipline. The BNP chief said the late president Ziaur Rahman had restored democracy and her government restored parliamentary democracy that would be continuing in the country. --Unb, Comilla, September 24.

Vat on sim card
SC rejects NBR plea for stay

The Supreme Court turned down the National Board of Revenue (NBR) plea for staying an HC judgment declaring "illegal" the NBR-imposed supplementary duty and VAT on mobile phone SIM card. Passing the order, vacation chamber court of Justice MM Ruhul Amin asked the revenue board to maintain status quo. The court fixed October 17 for hearing the leave-to-appeal application against the High Court verdict at a regular bench of the Supreme Court. On August 24, the High Court, in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) writ petition, declared illegal the supplementary duty and VAT amounting to Tk 1,628 on each mobile SIM (subscriber identification module) card imposed last year. In June last year, Abu Sayeed Khan, a freelance journalist, had filed the writ petition challenging the legality of government order imposing the duty and VAT. Advocate M Asaduzzaman, barrister Syed Afzal Hassan Uddin and barrister Anita Rahman stood for the PIL writ petition. Barrister TH Khan was the counsel for NBR. --Unb, Dhaka, September 25..

JMB leaders may not be executed in govt tenure
An uncertainty suddenly raised its head regarding the executions of seven condemned militants of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, as the government said it has no intention of executing them before Eid-ul-Fitr even if they do not appeal within seven days of signing of the death warrants. Law Minister Barrister Moudud Ahmed said that the government does not want to execute anyone during Ramadan. Whether the executions can be carried out before the present government hands over power on October 28 has also become a topic of discussion as many are inquiring whether the government is going to shift from its previous position of favouring executions of the condemned Islamist militants before it hands over power to a caretaker government. Asked whether the executions can be carried out before the present government's tenure ends, Moudud did not reply directly but told reporters, "I'll discuss the matter with the home ministry." Iftekhar Al Mamun, one of the condemned seven, already appealed against his death sentence, the inspector general of prisons told The Daily Star. Another one of them is on the run. Family sources said two other condemned -- Khaled Saifullah and Abdul Awal are also preparing to appeal. Meantime, Rafiqul Islam, brother of condemned Bangla Bhai, told reporters that a relative of them will appeal against Bangla Bhai's death sentence maintaining legal process.
--The Daily Star, September 26.

JS passes labour bill amid AL walkout
The parliament passed Bangladesh Labour Bill 2006 amid strong protest from the main opposition Awami League (AL) followed by an AL walkout led by its leader Sheikh Hasina. The main opposition walked out of the House protesting a parliamentary standing committee report on the bill which did not include a note of dissent of an AL lawmaker and failed to mention a subsequent walkout of the dissenting member of the committee from a meeting. Abdul Kader Siddiqui of Krishok Sramik Janata League also walked out of the House protesting the speaker's attitude. "The record of the note of dissent and the walkout of a member of the standing committee from the meeting must be included in the committee report and we will walk out of the House in protest if you don't include that before passing the bill," Kader Siddiqui told the speaker in the House. Later, the parliament passed the bill without the presence of the main opposition. State Minister for Labour and Employment Aman Ullah Aman placed the bill. The parliament also passed a bill for establishing Asian University for Women in Chittagong, in absence of the main opposition. Denying the allegations brought by the opposition, Speaker Jamir Uddin Sircar told the House that he did not get any written note of dissent. He however said, "If the opposition member had submitted his written note of dissent then it would be included in the committee report." Criticising the bill, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Sheikh Hasina told reporters after the walkout, "The government violated the ILO convention in preparing the bill which is absolutely contrary to the labour's interest."--The Daily Star, September 26.

Cases against cops
Court orders judicial enquiry
A Dhaka court ordered judicial inquiry after two Jubo Mahila League leaders filed separate criminal cases against the inspector general of police (IGP) and some 715 police personnel for attacking the opposition activists during their Prime Minister's Office siege programme on September 12. Jubo Mahila League President Nazma Akhter and its General Secretary Professor Apu Ukil filed the cases with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court against the accused for their alleged involvement in the attacks. Taking the complainants into cognizance, Metropolitan Magistrate Syed Mohammad Mojibul Haq ordered the judicial probe into the matters. The accused include IGP Anwarul Iqbal, Deputy Director of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Abdul Aziz Sarker, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner SM Mizanur Rahman and Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Tejgaon Kohinur Miah. The other accused are five additional IGs of different departments, two DIGs, six DCs, 11 ADCs, 33 ACs, 17 officers-in-charge (OCs) of different police stations, 12 inspectors, 20 sub-inspectors (SIs) and six hundred police members of different status. A team of police led by DC Aurangozeb Mahbub attacked a Jubo Mahila League procession at the Bangla Motor Crossing and its neighbourhood from 1:00pm to 2:00pm on September 12, Nazma Akhter said in her complaint. The accused mercilessly beat up Jubo Mahila League leader Ayesha Khanam Asha and tore her clothes, Nazma Akhter added. They also attacked processions that left Awami League (AL) lawmaker Asaduzzaman Noor, the complainant and a large number of leaders and activists injured. --Prothom Alo, September 26.

Corresponding with the Law Desk
Please send your mails, queries, and opinions to: Law Desk, The Daily Star 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215; telephone 8124944,8124955,fax 8125155;email <dslawdesk@yahoo.co.uk,lawdesk@thedailystar.net


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