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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: 89
October 18 , 2008

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Law week

Interpol finds Morshed Khan's Tk 14.15cr stashed in HK bank
The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has detected a deposit of over Tk 14.15 crore by absconding former foreign minister M Morshed Khan and his son Faisal Morshed Khan with a Hong Kong bank. Both the Khans have been convicted in several cases relating to corruption, hiding wealth information, land grabbing and criminal activities after the caretaker government came to power in January 2007.

The Hong Kong police, through the Interpol's Dhaka office, have informed the matter to the government and wanted to know whether Bangladesh wants to confiscate the money.

Sources said the Hong Kong police have uncovered that the money was laundered from the earnings of Citycell, a telco partly owned by Morshed Khan and his son.

Hasib Aziz, assistant inspector general of police (AIG) who is also in charge of Interpol in Dhaka, said the Hong Kong authorities detected 16 million Hong Kong dollars in the account. But they did not mention the name of the bank in the letter sent to Dhaka Interpol eight days ago. The AIG said, "We have already forwarded it to the Bangladesh Bank, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Attorney General and other higher authorities of the government." -The Daily star, October 16, 2008.

Students asked to skip illegal educational institutions
The government has asked the students not to get admitted to unauthorised local and foreign educational institutions known as university, college, school, outer campus, regional centre, distant-earning centre, regional resource centre, study centre, admission centre or information centre.

"The government will not be responsible if any unwanted situation arises out of fraudulence in admission and legitimacy of certificates given by the unapproved educational institutions," the education ministry said in a handout.

Presently, there are 51 private universities in the country and validity of provisional certificates of many of those has already expired, it said, adding that the government has taken initiative to update the university-governing rules. -The Daily Star, October 14, 2008.

HC hears EC petition for vacating stay
The High Court (HC) heard an application filed by the Election Commission (EC) for vacating the HC order staying the EC's re-demarcation of the parliamentary constituencies.

An HC bench of justices Syed Mahmud Hossain and Quamrul Islam Siddiqui on Sunday fixed October 14 for hearing the EC's application. Another HC bench of justices Mir Hasmat Ali and Shamim Hasnain fixed October 19 for the final hearing of two important writ petitions challenging the legality of the EC's re-demarcation of the parliamentary constituencies and the proclamation of the state of emergency in the country on January 11 last year. The counsels for the petitioners prayed to the HC bench for fixing a date to hold the hearing of the writ petitions considering their public importance.

On July 20, the HC bench issued a rule asking the government to explain within four weeks why the proclamation of the state of emergency in the country on January 11 last year should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional. The court also directed the government to file an affidavitspecifying the grounds on which the state of emergency was proclaimed and what fundamental rights were suspended under the emergencywith the court within a month. -The Daily Star, October 14, 2008.

Army officer 'takes care' of SC cause list
Barrister Rafique-ul Huq, principal counsel of former premiers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, has alleged that a junior army officer "takes care" of the cause list for hearing of petitions by the chamber judge of Supreme Court.

"An army major sits in a room on the second floor of the Supreme Court building where no one is allowed to enter. This major takes care of the cause list for hearing of petitions by the chamber judge," Barrister Rafique told a meeting of SC lawyers. "Nothing can be so unfortunate other than this," he said at the urgent meeting of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) in its South Hall.

The meeting was convened in protest against Saturday's bomb blast at the residence of Justice Sharif Uddin Chaklader and reconstitution of the HC benches by the chief justice allegedly sidelining senior judges. Meanwhile, anonymous letters were sent on Saturday to three senior SC lawyersBarrister Rafique-ul Huq, Barrister Shafique Ahmed and Barrister M Amir-Ul Islam. The letters addressed the senior lawyers as "national betrayers" for defending persons accused in different graft cases. -The Daily Star, October 13, 2008.

ACC seeks to vacate court stay
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury said the commission will seek in a couple of days resumption of legal proceedings in the cases filed by it and stayed by the High Court (HC) as the Supreme Court (SC) reopens October 12 after its annual vacation.

"We want to have the HC stay orders vacated and the cases resumed. We will make the move in a couple of days," he told a press briefing at the ACC office. In reply to questions, Hasan Mashhud said the government would decide whether politicians convicted in graft cases would participate in the upcoming national election or not.

"The government will decide over the matter of convicted politicians taking part in the election. And it is not just taking a decision, the decision must be in accordance with law." Asked about success of the anti-graft drive in the wake of convicted and graft-suspect politicians gaining bail ahead of the election, the ACC chief said, "A situation of stagnancy as regards our cases has followed the HC stay orders. And once we recover from it, you will see that we are moving ahead," he added.

A total of 73 ACC- filed cases have been stayed by the HC. And 30 more cases are pending with different special courts. -The Daily Star, October 12, 2008.

AL debates changes to its constitution
Amidst differences of opinion on retaining the provisions for party's 'associated' organisations in its constitution, Awami League's (AL) highest decision-making body holds a crucial meeting today to decide on the matter and to bring some amendments to it to get registered with the Election Commission (EC).

A draft of the amendments to the party constitution will be placed at a meeting of the AL Central Working Committee (ALCWC) with suggestions not to keep the names of associated bodies in it, sources said.

The draft prepared by AL advisory council member HT Imam and AL information and research secretary Nuh-ul-Alam Lenin also suggested that the associated organisations work independently. -The Daily Star, October 11, 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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