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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: 70
May 31 , 2008

This week's issue:
Law Analysis
Law report
Laws For everyday life
Human Rights Advocacy
Reviewing the views
Daily Life blues
Law Opinion
Law Lexicon
Law Week

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Law week

EPR bail prayers to be heard on 3 grounds
A full text judgment of the Supreme Court (SC) was published were it was observed that the High Court (HC) may consider bail petitions in cases filed under the Emergency Power Rules (EPR), on three grounds.

According to the SC observations, the HC may entertain petitions for bail in cases filed under EPR if they are filed with mala fide intentions, on suspicion, or with a court which does not have jurisdiction over the matter. The latest SC judgment allows the government's appeal against the HC judgment. Legal experts termed the latest SC judgment as 'self-contradictory', as the apex court set aside the HC judgment while empowering the HC to grant bail on three grounds. They also urged the SC to make its judgment more clear with specific directions. The amended EPR revoked the right to bail of those who are accused in criminal cases filed under EPR. -The Daily Star, May 29, 2008

Special court weakens fair trial safeguards
The caretaker government has brought "politically motivated" charges against individuals and weakened fair-trial safeguards by setting up special courts, according to the latest global report of Amnesty International (AI).

The "Amnesty International Report 2008: State of the World's Human Rights" observes that the police lack adequate training and equipment, effective accountability and oversight mechanisms. It reports that wide-ranging media restrictions, although not strictly enforced, compelled the media to intensify self-censorship. The report also reports of continued violence against women and the lack of government action to bring war criminals to justice. -The Daily Star, May 29, 2008

CG-formed PAC set to be scrapped
The ad hoc Public Accounts Committee (PAC) created by the caretaker government in December last year to scrutinise reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is now about to be cancelled as it 'violates the constitution'.

In the wake of the criticism, the finance ministry is now pondering cancellation of the circular that declared the formation of the ad hoc PAC, a senior official of the ministry told The Daily Star on condition of anonymity. In absence of a PAC, the number of unresolved audit reports involving hundreds of crores of taka, and the cases of retired government officials who are not getting their pensions due to unsettled objections, are increasing. Moreover, recovery of public money that might have been misappropriated has also been stalling. -The Daily Star, May 29, 2008

Bid to revive deal for repatriation
Bangladesh and UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, agreed to revive the tripartite agreement under which Rohingya refugees would be able to voluntarily return to their homeland in Myanmar.

A 1992 agreement among Myanmar, the UNHCR and Bangladesh allowing voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees has not been in force since 2006 when 92 refugees decided to return to their home in Myanmar. Until 2006, around 237,000 refugees returned to Myanmar. Most of the remaining refugees live in two camps in Nayapara and Kutupalong in Cox's Bazar, where they receive assistance from the UNHCR and World Food Program. A large number of Rohingyas, mostly unregistered, continue to live in southern Cox's Bazar without any facilities. -The Daily Star, May 28, 2008

Manpower export to Bahrain stops
Employment of Bangladeshi workers in Bahrain comes to a halt, as the country on Monday stopped issuing work permits to Bangladeshis, Bahraini newspaper Gulf Daily News reported yesterday.

Recruitment businesses observe the ban is a great shock for Bangladesh's overseas labour market that came after a halt of recruitment in Kuwait in late 2006, reduction in employment in Saudi Arabia and a temporary ban in Malaysia. Jobseekers now in Bahrain with work visas but yet to get work permit and those with visas but yet to leave for Bahrain will be in troubles, agencies told The Daily Star. In a reaction to the ban, a recruiting agent said this particular country is not a very big labour market for Bangladesh, but the fact is that it will have bad impact on Bangladeshi workers. -The Daily Star, May 28, 2008

EC gets 1057 appeals from the aggrieved
Aggrieved by the Election Commission's (EC) move to redraw parliamentary constituencies, politicians and other people have filed 1,057 appeals with the EC against re-demarcation of 43 constituencies.

Amidst growing opposition from major political parties, the EC on April 29 unveiled a draft list of parliamentary constituencies with 133 of the 300 seats redrawn, and invited appeals against it by June 1, if any. Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) M Sakhawat Hussain however said from only six or seven constituencies have merits and the remaining ones do not contain sufficient substances.

The EC will start hearing of appeals from the second week of June so that it can publish final list of the re-demarcated parliamentary constituencies by the end of the month. Major political parties are opposing the EC move saying it would create obstacles to holding the ninth parliamentary polls by the year end, as per the announced electoral roadmap. The EC however repeatedly said this would in no way hamper holding of parliamentary polls in time. -The Daily Star, May 28, 2008

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- Law Desk

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