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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: 75
July 5 , 2008

This week's issue:
Law Opinion
Human Rights Advocacy
Laws For Everyday Life
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Rights Corner
Human Rights Analysis
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Law week

HC stays Niko case against Khaleda for 2 months
The High Court (HC) stayed the proceedings of the Niko corruption case against detained BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for two months. Another HC bench, meanwhile, quashed case proceedings against the family members of several corruption suspects including former foreign minister M Morshed Khan, former deputy minister Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu and ex-Awami League lawmaker Kamal Ahmed Majumder.

The HC bench of Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Mashuque Hosain Ahmed issued a ruling asking the government and the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) to explain within two weeks why the Niko case proceedings should not be quashed, following a writ petition filed by Khaleda. The same HC bench on July 7 stayed for two months the proceedings of the Niko and barge-mount power plant cases against former premier Sheikh Hasina. The court also issued separate rules asking the government and the ACC to explain within four weeks why the cases should not be quashed. -The Daily Star, July 10, 2008.

EC worried as 'criminals' pass through scrutiny
The sweeping electoral reforms brought by the Election Commission (EC) in an effort to have honest and competent candidates in elections, seem to have hit a major stumbling block as many 'qualified candidates' for the August 4 city corporation and municipality polls are accused in criminal cases.

Being aware of the situation, the EC at a meeting expressed its unhappiness about the situation, meeting sources said. The current EC, which was reconstituted by the military backed caretaker government on February 4, 2007, brought sweeping electoral reforms to encourage honest and competent candidates in local government elections.

The EC also promulgated strict electoral rules and a code of conduct for electioneering, but those have apparently been unable to keep individuals with criminal notoriety at bay. The caretaker government also promulgated new laws regarding formations and functions of city corporations and municipalities and on holding of elections to those, imposing some new restrictions on candidacies in the polls. -The Daily Star, July 08, 2008.

Khaleda's new formula for local govt polls
Repeating her demand for the parliamentary election first, detained BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia proposed that the caretaker administration set a timeline for the next government to hold local body polls. “If they are concerned about local government polls under an elected government they can set a month's time for it to hold the elections,” she observed.
The former prime minister was speaking to reporters after hearing proceedings in the Niko graft case against her at a special court. She said the national election is more urgent than local polls and so the government should hold it first in compliance with the constitution. -The Daily Star, July 08, 2008.

5 lakh depositors swindled by Jamaat's farmer wing
Bangladesh Chashi Kalyan Samity (BCKS), farmers' wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, but also registered as an NGO, remained the party's financial front through illegal banking in at least 17 districts over a decade, sources say. Following a changed scenario after 1/11, the NGO has shut down its offices and swindled a huge amount of money collected through deposits, special deposit schemes and investment on loans among members since 1997.

The BCKS business was also unlawfully sold to Jamaat supporters for covertly continuing the financial activities. Dissident BCKS officials, involved Jamaat leaders and victims say the accurate amount of misappropriation cannot be found out without proper inquiry. But they add the figure would be minimum Tk 100 crore collected from about five lakh people. -The Daily Star, July 07, 2008.

6 thrown out of mayor race
On the first day of scrutiny, the Election Commission (EC) cancelled six nominations for two mayoral posts on different grounds including loan defaulting. Out of the six, four were in Khulna City Corporation (KCC) and two in Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC). However, none of the mayoral nominations in Sylhet and Barisal city corporations was cancelled.

Of six city corporations, four along with nine municipalities are going to polls on August 4. Out of 281 applications for councillorship, so far 92 have been counted and six cancelled. Of 47 nominations for women's reserved seats, only one has been cancelled, sources said. Bangladesh expatriate in Belgium Golam Rabbani and Siddikur Rahman are the two whose nominations for the post of RCC mayor were cancelled. -The Daily Star, July 07, 2008.

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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