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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: 125
July 4 , 2009

This week's issue:
Governance update
For Your information
Laws For everyday life
Law Campaign
Fact File
Law amusements
Law lexicon
Law Week

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Law week

Information Commission formed
The Right to Information (RTI) Act went into full effect with the formation of the three-member Information Commission by President Zillur Rahman. Retired secretary M Azizur Rahman was appointed the chief information commissioner (CIC), while former secretary Mohammad Abu Taher, and Prof Sadeka Halim of the sociology department at Dhaka University were appointed as the other two commissioners. A selection committee headed by a Supreme Court judge earlier nominated a panel of six persons for the posts. -The Daily Star, July 02, 2009.

Hearing of Aug 21 attack case deferred
A Dhaka court adjourned the hearing till July 12 on the government petitions seeking further investigation into the August 21 grenade attack cases following a time petition by the defence lawyers. Judge Masdar Hossain of the Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 passed the order after defence lawyers of the accused former deputy minister and BNP leader Abdus Salam Pintu submitted a petition seeking adjournment of the hearing on the petitions. Meantime, Pintu's lawyer Sanaullah told the reporters that the prosecution had brought petitions seeking further investigation into the cases as part of a conspiracy to implicate more BNP leaders in the cases. -The Daily Star, July 02, 2009.

Bangladesh performs poorly in rule of law
The World Bank's (WB) Worldwide Governance Indicator (WGI) shows that Bangladesh performed poorly in the rule of law, government effectiveness, and regulatory quality but did well in control of corruption, political stability and accountability. The WB released the WGI 2009 on Monday. Since 1996, it releases every year the WGI based on six indicators. Research Director of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) Dr Zaid Bakht said the anti-corruption drive launched by the immediate past caretaker government 'curbed' corruption slightly but the panic created by the drive among people led to deterioration of the rule of law. -The Daily Star, July 01, 2009.

Verdict stayed in 3 cases against Manju
The High Court (HC) stayed the trial courts' verdicts against Jatiya Party (JP-Manju) Chairman Anwar Hossain Manju in three cases in which he was convicted and sentenced to 27 years' imprisonment. The HC bench of Justice MA Wahhab Miah and Justice Md Abdur Razzak passed the orders after separate appeals were filed by Manju's counsel barrister Rafique-Ul Huq. Sources said the HC orders would remain in force until disposal of the pending appeals. -The Daily Star, July 01, 2009.

Explain why killings in 'crossfire' not illegal
The High Court (HC) issued a rule upon the government to explain within four weeks why extra-judicial killings in 'crossfire' or 'encounters' with law enforcement agencies should not be declared illegal. The court also asked the government to explain why departmental and punitive actions should not be taken against those responsible for such killings while in custody, or elsewhere.
-The Daily Star, June 30, 2009.

Ashulia erupts into violence
Garment workers clashed with police for hours at Ashulia near the capital, leaving a co-worker killed and over 150 people including 30 cops wounded. The fight followed Saturday's pitched battles that saw a worker killed and 25 others injured when Ansars fired on those agitating for higher pay. Police shot over 200 rounds of rubber bullets and teargas shells and charged baton to break up yesterday's protest over the fellow worker's death the previous day. -The Daily Star, June 29, 2009.

Forest bosses flayed for failure
A parliamentary body castigated forest officials for their failure to prevent grabbing of forest land and illegal felling of trees, and directed the chief conservator of forest to strengthen the drive to recover around 3.27 lakh acres of land from grabbers. The parliamentary standing committee on the environment and forest ministry asked forest officials to come up with a report at each of its meetings specifying the progress of the drive. It also asked the forest department to seek, if necessary, directives from the High Court to fight grabbers who obstructed recovery of forestland by filing cases. -The Daily Star, June 29, 2009.

Scope bugs 8 donors
Eight donors have urged the government to drop a provision of whitening money in the draft finance bill, which they said might cause problems for Bangladesh in remittance inflow and transactions with foreign banks. Donors including the USA, the UK, the EU, Canada, Australia and Denmark in a joint letter to the government last week suggested dropping the provision that says no question can be raised about the sources of the whitened amount, said a donor community source. -The Daily Star, June 28, 2009

Info commission within a few days
Information Minister Abul Kalam Azad said an independent Information Commission would be formed within a few days for ensuring people's right to information, as the Right to Information Act is going to be enforced from July 1. "Right to information will broaden the way of empowerment and development of the people. We will gradually implement the Right to Information Act to ensure free flow of information in the country," he said. -The Daily Star, June 28, 2009.

Strong guidelines a must to save rivers
President of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (Bapa) Prof Muzaffer Ahmad demanded recovery of the grabbed river land and formulation of strong guidelines to save the rivers and other water bodies. Addressing a press conference on the proposed budget at the National Press Club, he said the High Court directives, which were delivered to save the rivers around Dhaka, should be applicable for the rivers across the country. -The Daily Star, June 27, 2009.

Help probe 'torture' on politicians in last 2 years
BNP sought the United Nations help in conducting an independent enquiry into torture on political leaders and businessmen during the last caretaker government regime and killings and torture of BNP activists in the last six months. "We would request you to use your good office to conduct an independent enquiry in order to look into these violations of the UN convention against oppression for the sake of protecting basic human rights in Bangladesh," BNP said in a memorandum to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. -The Daily Star, June 27, 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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