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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: 147
December 12, 2009

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Convicts may get copy
The death row convicts in Bangabandhu murder case are likely to get copy of the Supreme Court verdict, 27 days after it was delivered. The full text of the historic judgement is to be released, sources said. The condemned killers will get 30 days to file review petitions upon receiving the copy. A five-member bench of the apex court that heard appeals against the High Court (HC) verdict in the case has completed writing the judgement, sources added. - The Daily Star, December 17, 2009.

Tafazzul new chief justice
Justice Md Tafazzul Islam, a senior justice of the Supreme Court (SC), was appoin-ted chief justice. President Zillur Rahman gave the appointment as per article 95(1) of the Constitution, an official handout said. But he superseded senior judge of the Appellate Division Justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim. Justice Tafazzul will replace the present Chief Justice MM Ruhul Amin, who is going into retirement on December 22. Justice MM Ruhul Amin will, however, discharge his responsibility as chief justice for 47 days, since he will go into retirement on February 8 next year. - The Daily Star, December 16, 2009.

HC very concerned
The High Court expressed grave concern over persistence of extrajudicial killings as 11 people were killed in custody since issuance of a suo moto rule upon the government on November 17 for an explanation on the matter. During hearing on the rule, the court asked the attorney general to convey its concern to the director general of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab). The HC also asked him to take initiatives so that no such killings take place till the next hearing on the matter scheduled for January 9. - The Daily Star, December 15, 2009.

Start war trial fast
Amid increasing demand for immediate trial of war criminals, the nation observed Martyred Intellectuals' Day yesterday to commemorate the illustrious citizens killed brutally two days before the victory in Liberation War, 1971. Thousands of people gathered at the Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial at Mirpur in the capital to pay their tributes. Many wore black ribbons, while many people and a number of organisations carried banners inscribed with slogans demanding a quick start of the trial. To mark the day, President Zillur Rahman placed wreaths at the memorial around 7:00am. A few minutes later, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tribute to the martyrs. - The Daily Star, December 15, 2009.

Trial by next Feb
The process of the much-awaited trial of the war criminals would start by February, said Law Minister Shafique Ahmed on the eve of the 38th Martyred Intellectuals Day. During the Liberation War of Bangladesh, the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators killed three million people, violated a quarter million women and eliminated the best Bangali brains on December 14 in a plot to cripple the nation. The law minister told The Daily Star," I can tell you that the process of the trial of the war criminals would start either in the end of January or in the beginning of February." - The Daily Star, December 14, 2009.

River grabbing still going on
Encroachment, earth-filling and building of illegal structures continue at different points of Buriganga, Turag, and Balu rivers defying the High Court directives, says a government report. The deputy commissioner of Gazipur submitted the report to the High Court yesterday. The report also says people are dumping sewages and garbage into the rivers contributing to their pollution. However, the government has taken steps to stop the illegal activities, the district administration informed the court. Earlier this year, river encroachment and construction of unauthorised structures on rivers were declared illegal in an HC verdict. - The Daily Star, December 14, 2009.

Legally binding deal not in sight
It is now almost certain that the two year-long demand of Bangladesh and small island nations for a legally binding agreement will not be met in Copenhagen as the time has already run out with lots of other issues unresolved. Meanwhile, Danish police released nearly 1,000 protesters who were detained during a mass rally demanding strong actions from delegates at the UN climate conference. In the first segment the UN climate talks have made some progress but still many of the toughest issues such as greenhouse gas emission target by 2020 and financing for poor nations to deal with climate change are yet to be resolved. - The Daily Star, December 14, 2009.

Consumers not protected well
Law Commission Chairman Justice MA Rashid termed the Consumers Rights Protection Act - 2009 faulty and said it should be amended, as the provisions of the law didn't properly ensure consumers' rights and interests. There is no provision in the law whereby people can be compensated for bad or sub-standard products, he said, adding that the law commission will make necessary recommendations to amend the law if the government wants it. He was speaking as the chief guest at a round-table discussion on "Consumers Rights Protection Act - 2009: Review and Recommendations" organised by Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) at BIAM auditorium in Dhaka. - The Daily Star, December 13, 2009.

Solar panel to be made a must at high-rises
Advocate Abdul Mannan Khan, state minister for housing and public works, said the government is planning to enact a law to make it mandatory to install solar panels in all commercial and high-rise buildings in four proposed satellite cities. "To keep our environment clean and safe, we need to be cautious in consumption of energy as we are passing through a very crucial moment in terms of climate change impacts," he said while addressing as the chief guest at a roundtable at CIRDAP auditorium here. "According to our plan we are going to propose to make a provision for each houses in the four proposed cities to install solar home system. - The Daily Star, December 13, 2009.

Convicted war criminals can now join BNP
War criminals convicted under Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order, 1972 can now have membership or leadership of BNP's committees at any level since the party has deleted the barring provision from its constitution. The war criminals of 1971 will also be eligible for getting BNP nomination to contest parliamentary elections. The national council of the party approved the BNP national standing committee's proposal for abolishing the provision. The deleted provision said an individual convicted under the president order no-8 of 1972, which is Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order, will be disqualified from being a member of the party's national council, national executive and standing committees and any committee at any level or being a candidate to contest parliamentary elections. - The Daily Star, December 12, 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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