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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: 90
October 25 , 2008

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Toxic ship being dismantled in Ctg
Defying a court order, dismantling of MT Enterprisean oil tanker blacklisted by Greenpeace for containing hazardous substancescontinues at a ship-breaking yard in the coastal upazila of Sitakunda.

Madina Enterprise, locally known as Siko Steel ship-breaking yard, has been dismantling the vessel secretly for some time ignoring protests from environment-conscious people. Proprietor of Madina Enterprise Nazim Uddin admitted the dismantling of the ship and claimed that he has all the required clearances from the authorities concerned.

Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) on October 17 filed a writ petition accusing the importer of the ship of being in contempt of court. Hearing of the petition was held on October 23. -The Daily Star, October 23, 2008.

Anti-graft drive slowing down
Eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain has said 206 bails in just 100 minutes and the commerce adviser's meeting with corrupt politicians are signs of a weakening in the caretaker government's fight against corruption.

“I do not want to say yet that the government has failed in its fight against corruption. But certainly we have seen some weakening. And that is because we feel that some views have been taken that you should bring in the parties [to the election] at any cost,” he said during an interview with The Daily Star.

Granting of so many bails in such a short time is not possible through the legal procedure, he said. Asked if too many arrests have thinned out the anti-corruption drive, he said, “Definitely. It should have been more targeted.” -The Daily Star, October 22, 2008.

Mojahid for stopping abuse of emergency
Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid thinks the country's constitution can have an article to prevent abuse of emergency provisions.

If people want, he said, the next parliament may consider this. In an interview with The Daily Star on October 17, he alleged that the donor agencies interfered in the country's internal affairs last year to foil the parliamentary polls then scheduled for January 22. The roles that some of them had played contributed to the nation's being in troubled waters, he observed in reference to the changeover of 1/11.

“The upcoming election is an internal matter of ours. None of the donors or development partners should meddle in it,” he said. -The Daily Star, October 21, 2008.

BNP, Jamaat revise constitutions
In developments BNP made some major changes in its constitution to apply for registration with the Election Commission (EC) on the closing date.

Earlier in the day, the party and its key ally Jamaat-e-Islami collected forms from the EC Secretariat. A couple of days back, Jamaat too brought about drastic changes in its charter to meet the criteria for registration, now mandatory for political parties seeking election to parliament.

Throughout the day, both the parties were busy readying documents required to be attached to the forms for registration. The interim constitution of BNP does not provide for front organisations and chapters abroad. It however has a provision like arch-rival AL's to allow associated organisations.

The changes were approved at a standing committee meeting presided over by Chairperson Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office. Jamaat-e-Islami has changed 12/13 sections in its constitution. The phrases 'establishing the rule of Allah' have been replaced by 'establishing a fair and just Islamic society'. -The Daily Star, October 20, 2008.

Final HC hearing today on petition against EC
The High Court (HC) will hold the final hearing on the petition challenging the Election Commission's (EC) re-demarcation of parliamentary constituencies.

The court will also hear the petitions for quashing proceedings against former premier Sheikh Hasina in the Niko and barge-mounted power plant corruption cases. The HC bench of justices Mir Hasmat Ali and Shamim Hasnain on October 13 fixed October 19 for hearing the writ petition that challenged the legality of the EC's gazette notification finalising fresh demarcation of the constituencies.

EC's counsel Dr Shahdeen Malik told The Daily Star that it might take two or three days to complete the hearing on the writ petition against the re-demarcation of the constituencies. -The Daily Star, October 19, 2008.

UK plans tougher restrictions on immigration
Britain will impose tougher restrictions on immigration as the global financial crisis lifts unemployment to the highest rate in nearly a decade, the country's new immigration minister said.

“If people are being made unemployed, the question of immigration becomes extremely thorny,” Phil Woolas told The Times newspaper. “It's been too easy to get into this country in the past and it's going to get harder,” he added in an interview.

In a dramatic change of policy, the Labour government intends placing a limit on immigration, according to the daily. “There has to be a balance between the number of people coming in and the number of people leaving,” said Woolas.

The minister said his government would not allow Britain's population to grow to 70 million people. Britain's population grew by about 3.4 percent to almost 61 million people between 2001 and 2007 fuelled by expansion of the European Union, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. -The Daily Star, October 19, 2008.

Madrasa students vandalise DU VC office
A group of recent madrasa graduates vandalised the office of Dhaka University (DU) Vice-chancellor (VC) Prof SMA Faiz spreading panic on the campus.

The vandals were demanding cancellation of the university authorities' decision to not allow admission to students who did not study Bangla and English of 200 marks each in their higher secondary or equivalent courses. About 200 madrasa students from different city madrasas along with some DU students embarked on the vandalism around 4:30pm, eyewitnesses said.

Six departments of DU this year decided not to allow admission to students who did not study Bangla and English of 200 marks each in their higher secondary or equivalent courses, and the DU committee of deans recently approved the decision. The attackers vandalised doors, window panes, furniture and other office decorations. -The Daily Star, October 19, 2008.

Good for some, bad for the others, worst for women
Rickshawpullers, male garment workers and workers of real estate and railway are luckier than those engaged in other non-farm sectorstheir real earning increased while the rest's dropped in the second quarter of 2007.

But worst off are the female workers who found their pay cheques shrinking. According to a Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) recent survey, the daily real wage rate of farm labourers also increased.

The findings came from the BBS second Quarterly Wage Rate Survey (WRS) report on 36 industrial sectors released in August. The bureau started such surveys last year to determine changes in real wages or earnings of the non-farm workers and to assess the labour market situation. The survey revealed that women draw less than their male counterparts. -The Daily Star, October 18, 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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