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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: 117
May 9, 2009

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Law week

Killer pesticides
Excessive use of pesticides on farmlands in two villages of Dhamrai upazila caused death of at least three children last month. It also killed a number of calves, dogs and fowls. Besides, 13 more children, all aged below seven, were hospitalised, while some farmers fell sick during the same period. A committee formed by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) under the health ministry reveals this in a primary investigation report. Talking about reasons behind the recent deaths in Dhamrai's Malancha and Naogakaith villages, IEDCR Director Dr Mahmudur Rahman told The Daily Star, "We are sure it was pesticide poisoning. And we think it's happening in other parts of the country as well."-The Daily Star, May 5, 2009.

ACC act to be reviewed
The cabinet decided to review the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Act, 2004 and bring four longstanding proposed amendments to strengthen the law and make it more effective. ACC Secretary Khandaker M Asaduzzaman confirmed The Daily Star about the cabinet decisions. However, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed at his secretariat office said the government would not bring basic changes to the Act. Sources say the cabinet had earlier instructed the anti-graft watchdog to scrutinise its Act and forward a list of recommendations. The law minister said the cabinet agreed to most of the proposals, which would be tabled as bills before parliament and sent to the parliamentary standing committee for examination. -The Daily Star, May 5, 2009.

Khaleda won't be evicted now
A High Court bench accepted BNP chief Khaleda Zia's writ petition challenging legality of the government decision cancelling allotment of her Dhaka Cantonment house and adjourned its hearing after two other benches felt embarrassed to hear the petition. The HC bench of Justice Zinat Ara and Justice Abdul Hakim adjourned the hearing on assurance by the attorney general that the government would not move in a week to evict Khaleda from that house. The HC bench fixed May 10 for next hearing. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam gave the assurance to the HC bench of Justice Zinat Ara and Justice Abdul Hakim when Khaleda's counsels moved a writ petition that sought a stay order on the government's cancellation order.
-The Daily Star, May 4, 2009.

Govt seeks withdrawal of appeal against HC verdict
The attorney general's office prayed to the Supreme Court for withdrawing the pending leave-to-appeal petitions against the High Court judgment that had declared illegal the fifth amendment to the constitution which endorses late president Ziaur Rahman's takeover and all acts since August 15, 1975. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam made the prayer on behalf of the government while Additional Attorney General M Enayetur Rahim moved a similar prayer on behalf of Bangladesh Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust. The BNP-Jamaat coalition government and Bangladesh Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust had filed two separate leave-to-appeal petitions with the SC against the HC verdict, which came on August 29, 2005 following a writ petition filed by Bangladesh Italian Marble Works Company (BIMWC). -The Daily Star, May 4, 2009.

Dropping of 11 cases against Hasina on cards
The metropolitan public prosecutor (MPP) is going to recommend withdrawal of the nine remaining cases against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the government law official has found that the cases were filed for "political harassment". "I have examined the documents of the cases and found that those were filed with political motive to harass her [Hasina]. I will send my opinion in a couple of days for withdrawal of the cases," MPP Abdullah Abu told The Daily Star over telephone. He has already suggested that the Meghnaghat power plant and Bepza corruption cases against the Awami League chief be dismissed as those were filed by the BNP-led government for "political harassment". -The Daily Star, May 3, 2009.

Govt moves to probe post-polls violence of 2001
The present government is actively considering formation of an enquiry commission to probe the 2001 post-elections violence and taking actions against the persons responsible for the violent incidents. The government has informed this to the High Court (HC) through an affidavit in reply to its (HC) rule that came upon a writ petition challenging the inaction of the law enforcement agencies to prevent the criminal activities taking place immediately after the 8th parliamentary polls in 2001. In the reply submitted to the HC through the attorney general's office on April 15, the government said the perpetrators of the alleged offences had the blessings of the government elected in 2001 polls and thereafter, an interim government ruled for two years. -The Daily Star, May 3, 2009.

Khaleda, sons apply for case withdrawal
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and her family members appealed to the government for withdrawal of 20 cases filed against them during the last caretaker government rule. Their petitions follow those filed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina last month for quashing of 11 cases against her. Khaleda, also former prime minister, stands accused of graft in four cases. Her elder son Tarique Rahman faces 11 cases--seven on extortion, three on graft and one on tax evasion charges, while her younger son Arafat Rahman Koko is accused in five cases--three on graft and one each on money laundering and extortion charges. -The Daily Star, May 1, 2009.

Govt to ensure minority rights, CHT peace treaty: PM
Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina said her government would repeal all laws and rules discriminatory to minority communities, including indigenous people, as it believes in freedom of all religious faiths and equal opportunities for all. She spoke about her government's stand on free practice of all religions, democratic governance and an equal opportunity social milieu while talking to Vice-Admiral of French Navy and Commander of the Joint Forces in the Indian Ocean region Gerard Valin when he called on her at the Prime Minister's Office. Hasina categorically said the government would ensure protection of freedom of all religions and the minority groups' freedom of expression in the country. "The present government believes in peace and prosperity of the mass people, freedom of all religions and equal rights of people of all walks of life." -The Daily Star, April 30, 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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