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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: 102
January 17, 2009

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Law week

Permanent Pay Commission to be formed -- says Muhith
The government is mulling over formation of a permanent pay commission for the public servants to adjust their income to inflation.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith disclosed it to reporters yesterday after a meeting with a five-member delegation led by Pay Commission Chairman M Mustafizur Rahman at the minister's office.

The issue of forming a permanent pay commission is being considered as per Awami League's election pledge, Muhith said, adding problems arise as the pay scales are changed after every five or seven years.

In the budget for the current fiscal year, the immediate past caretaker government announced a pay scale and immediately formed a Pay Commission.

Mustafizur Rahman told journalists, "We are trying to present the pay commission's recommendations by March-April. We have several proposals like introducing risk-based salary scale and merit-based salary scale."
"Implementation of the pay commission's report means an increase in salary. However, alongside increasing the salary, we are thinking about the areas from where resources can be collected," he added. -The Daily Star, January 15, 2009.

Stashed kickbacks may go way beyond $200m
A foreign delegation flew into Bangladesh to identify the persons involved in laundering $200 million dollar to Singapore, and to help Bangladesh recover the money.

The money was allegedly paid in kickbacks to former prime minister Khaleda Zia's younger son Arafat Rahman Koko and several ministers of the last BNP-led four-party alliance government.

The team is having discussions with different government agencies including the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) about the case of international money laundering involving Koko.

Meanwhile, outgoing Attorney General Salah Uddin Ahmad said the delegation already traced $200 million dollars of the laundered money, and the Bangladesh government must help them in recovering the amount which might even rise upon further investigation. -The Daily Star, January 13, 2009

Half of ordinances reviewed so far
The 7-member expert committee formed to review the ordinances, promulgated by the military-backed caretaker government, will give its recommendations by January 25 whether the ordinances to be accepted or not.

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister barrister Shafique Ahmed said this to the journalists after a meeting at his office.

"The committee has so far reviewed half of the 120 ordinances but it could not reach any decision. It can' t also say whether the constitution needs to be amended in this regard," Shafique said.

He said the committee will recommend the government after completion of its evaluation at its meeting to be held on Thursday (Jan 15) and added that the cabinet and the parliament will take the final decision. -The Daily Star, January 13, 2009

Wives of Quader, Pankaj freed on bail
Fugitive wives of ruling Awami League lawmaker Obaidul Quader and Awami Swechchhasebak League General Secretary Pankaj Devnath were enlarged on bail as they surrendered to the High Court.

Quader's wife Isratunnesa, who was convicted in two corruption cases, including one on tax evasion, got bail for three months each in the two cases on surrender to the court.

Responding to a petition, a division bench comprising Justice M Mozammel Hossain and Justice Afzal Hossain Ahmed passed the order staying the operation of the trial court judgment.

On September 25, 2007 an anti-graft court sentenced Isratunnesa to eight years' jail in a tax evasion case and fined her Tk 2 lakh, in default, to suffer one year more in jail. She was tried in absentia.

The anti-graft court had sentenced her to three years' simple imprisonment under Section 165 of the income tax ordinance for giving “false information” and five years' rigorous imprisonment under Section 166 of the ordinance for concealing information about wealth. -The Daily Star, January 12, 2009

EC sits on election of 45 women MPs
The ninth parliament may convene without the 45 women lawmakers in reserved seats as the Election Commission (EC) does not seem to have any plans to hold election to the seats before the inaugural session on January 25.

It means the new legislature might have to go into session before its full formation.

According to the constitution, parliament shall consist of lawmakers elected both directly and indirectly.

Citing a High Court (HC) ruling and constitutional provisions, legal experts said the establishment of parliament is never complete without members in the seats earmarked for women. They argue that sittings of the assembly should not commence before the election to reserved seats.

Speaking in return for anonymity, a noted jurist told The Daily Star that the EC should immediately hold election to the seats to avoid legal crisis in future. -The Daily Star, January 11, 2009

Supreme Judicial Commission recommends appointment of 2 judges
Two judges may be appointed to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court this week as per the recommendations of the Supreme Judicial Commission, paving the way for the disposal of long pending Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman murder case.

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister barrister Shafique Ahmed yesterday told The Daily Star that steps will be taken this week to fill up the two vacant posts of judges in the Appellate Division.

The Supreme Judicial Commission on October 16 recommended four senior most judges of the High Court Division for the two Appellate Division posts that have been lying vacant since July 2 last year. The recommended judges are Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman, Justice Md Abdul Quddus, Justice Md Abdul Aziz and Justice Bijan Kumar Das.

The president will appoint two of them as the Appellate Division judges. -The Daily Star, January 10, 2009.

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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