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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: 257
October 7, 2006

This week's issue:
Star Law Analysis
Financial market Regulation
Law Alter Views
Human Rights Advocacy
Human Rights Monitor
Law Capmpaign
Law Week

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Law Week

Sircar rejects all 162 opposition notices
Speaker of Parliament Jamiruddin Sircar rejected all notices from opposition lawmakers demanding discussions in the House on various issues ranging from much talked about electoral reforms to acute shortage of power supply and skyrocketing prices of essentials. The notices were submitted throughout the current session of parliament. Awami League (AL) and Jatiya Party lawmakers submitted as many as 162 notices demanding discussions on different issues adjourning the scheduled business of the House. In their notices the opposition lawmakers also demanded discussions on unbridled corruption, government's failure to deliver according to its promises, rise of Islamic militancy, Phulbaria killings, August 21 grenade attack on an AL rally, and proposed reforms in the caretaker government system and Election Commission. But the speaker accepted none of the notices neither had he allowed any formal discussion on any of the topics throughout the current session of parliament. "I hope the government will take steps to control prices of essentials and corruption," the speaker told the House while scrapping the notices. In defence of his decision of not allowing any discussion on the topics, the speaker categorically said the issues of August 21 grenade attack, killing of former finance minister Shah ASM Kibria, Kansat killings, and grenade attack on British High Commissioner Anwar Chowdhury are not current affairs. --The Daily Star, October 2

Talukder's removal opposes constitution
The way Major General (retd) Anwarul Kabir Talukder was removed from the post of state minister for power contradicts the constitution. With the controversy mounting over whether Talukder resigned willingly or was removed, the law minister expressed his ignorance over the matter while the Speaker said in parliament the state minister "resigned" from his post. According to the constitution, the office of a minister shall become vacant "if he resigns from office by placing his resignation in the hands of the Prime Minister for submission to the President". "The prime minister may at any time request a Minister to resign, and if such Minister fails to comply with the request, may advise the President to terminate the appointment of such Minister," the constitution says. However, the provisions have not been followed while removing Talukder as the PM neither requested him to resign nor advised the president to terminate his appointment. Talukder told the media several times that he was not asked to resign from his post; rather, he decided to resign consciously taking all responsibilities for the failures in the power sector. Just hours after his Friday announcement to resign the next day, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) relieved Talukder of his office at late night. --The Daily Star, October 2.

AL to place 31-point reform proposals
Awami League (AL) General Secretary Abdul Jalil will place 31-point electoral reform proposals at the beginning of the much-awaited dialogue with the ruling BNP Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, sources said. "We are awaiting government response to our proposals from the BNP secretary general at the talks," said a senior AL leader, asked about the party strategy at the one-to-one dialogue over reforms in the caretaker government system, Election Commission and electoral laws. The leader said the government's response will make it clear whether they are sincere to make the dialogue a success or agreed to hold it only to kill time before handing over power to caretaker government after its tenure ends on October 27. "We don't want to make the dialogue a lengthy process, rather want a quick outcome," he asserted seeking anonymity. Meanwhile, in last minute preparations for the talks, the AL set its strategies after separate meetings of senior leaders of the party and its allies in the 14-party combine. Leader of the Opposition and AL chief Sheikh Hasina chaired an emergency meeting of the party presidium, the highest policy making body of the party. At the meeting, the leaders said they would not compromise on a number of points that include reservations about Justice KM Hasan as caretaker government chief and MA Aziz as chief election commissioner.-- Prothom Alo, October 3.

Condemned militants won't be hanged in this govt's tenure
The Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militants condemned to death for killing two judges last year will not be executed during the tenure of the present government as all the convicts have sought permission to appeal against their sentences. The Supreme Court registrar ordered stays of execution of the death penalty of JMB military commander Ataur Rahman Sunny and Majlish-e-Shura member Abdul Awal following their special prayers through the jail authorities for leave to appeal. The decision marks the end of the fevered speculations whether the militant kingpins would be executed within the term of the four-party alliance government. Of the seven militants convicted of murder, six are behind bars while Arif, the other one, is still at large. Although the convicts had earlier said they would not file any appeal with the worldly courts, they have grabbed at the opportunity to appeal against their sentences that were confirmed by the High Court on August 31. Sunny and Awal submitted their prayers to the Dhaka Central Jail authorities, three days after expiry of the seven days' time since reading out of the death warrants to the convicts. The jail authorities sent the prayers to the SC Registrar. The SC registrar later sent separate letters to the home ministry, jail and the other authorities concerned, ordering postponement of the execution. --The Daily Star, October 4.

Babar regrets police beating of shooters
State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar regretted police atrocities on shooters and employees of National Shooting Federation complex while physicians said Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Asif Hossain is likely to miss the Asian Games in December. Meanwhile, National Shooting Federation rejected the police statement about the incident and demanded a judicial inquiry. The members and employees of National Shooting Federation wore black badges protesting against police atrocities. Lutfozzaman Babar, while talking to BBC Bangla Service, regretted the police attack on the shooters but defended the police action. "It is impossible that police will remain inactive when some people assault policemen in uniform," Babar said. Asif's physicians said the gold-medallist is likely to miss any competition in the next six months. "I cannot walk due to the beating I received on my soles," Asif said, lying in the bed at Metropolitan Hospital. Quoting doctors, he said the plaster on his hand would be taken off after a month while it would take at least three to four months to heal the injuries to his whole body. "It will take six to seven months for total recovery," he added. --The Daily Star, October 4.

Morshed shocked at 'proposal' for talks at envoy's residence
Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan deplored the proposal for a government-opposition dialogue on a "highly sensitive political issue" at an ambassador's residence. "This is very unfortunate ... I am sad that how any political party could think of going to another country's embassy and use them as arbitrator," he told reporters at the foreign ministry, following dramatic developments surrounding the proposed dialogue on electoral reforms. He made the remarks when asked to comment on the US ambassador's reported invitation to Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and Abdul Jalil to tea, and a talk for that matter, at her residence. "I don't think the American ambassador has initiated it ... I think some of us might have approached her to discuss the issue at her place," Khan said. He went on to add, "Because I found her a responsible diplomat; she knows diplomatic norms and she knows that political issues cannot be discussed in the domain of another country." Morshed said the foreign ministry took exception to conceiving the idea of holding dialogue at a foreign embassy, and "I am blaming our political parties, whoever they are. This is atrocious." He said the proposed dialogue is so important for Bangladesh that political parties should do it out of their own concern and responsibilities. --Unb, Dhaka, October 4.

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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