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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: 160
March 13, 2010

This week's issue:
Human Rights advocacy
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Law Week

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Law week

Withdrawal of 2,903 cases recommended
The home ministry has recommended withdrawal of 2,903 cases including two filed against BNP leaders Moudud Ahmed and Tarique Rahman, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed told the House. “Most of the cases recommended withdrawal were filed against supporters and leaders of Awami League,” he said in a scripted answer to a query of BNP lawmaker Lutfar Rahman. He said of the 2,903 cases the central committee formed at the home ministry recommended for complete withdrawal of 2,353 cases and partial withdrawal of 550 cases. - The Daily Star, March 11, 2010.

Govt tightens control on cellphone crimes
The government introduced some fresh measures tightening the registration process of SIM (subscriber identity module) and RUIM (removable user identity module) cards, following a rise in cellphone use for criminal activities. Persons under the age of 18 will no more be able to buy SIM or RUIM cards, and persons 18 years of age and above must put their national identity numbers on registration forms to become subscribers. Before the new measures were put in place, any ID card would suffice for getting a registered SIM or RUIM card. Subscribers from now on also must provide a name of an introducer along with the introducer's address, and a contact number on the registration forms. -The Daily Star, March 11, 2010.

Contempt rule on Prothom Alo for report on HC bail
The High Court issued a contempt rule on the Prothom Alo Editor and Publisher Matiur Rahman and reporter Mizanur Rahman Khan for publishing a report on granting wholesale anticipatory bail and bail for convicts. The rule asked them to explain within four weeks why contempt proceedings should not be drawn against them.A division bench of the HC comprised of Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana and Justice Md Rais Uddin issued the rule following a petition filed by Muhammad Fakhruddin, a Supreme Court lawyer. -The Daily Star, March 10 2010.

HC quashes proceedings against Hasina
The High Court quashed all proceedings in the MiG-29 warplane purchase corruption case against Sheikh Hasina filed during the BNP-Jamaat alliance rule. It also declared illegal the process of case filing by now-defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption (Bac), and its proceedings against Prime Minister Hasina. The HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Borhan Uddin delivered the verdict after Hasina filed a petition challenging the case. - The Daily Star, March 10, 2010.

Gender unfair laws to go
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government would repeal the laws discriminatory to women and soon make the National Women Development Policy effective. Addressing a programme marking the 100th International Women's Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city, the premier said the BNP-Jamaat government silently brought changes in the women development policy. The policy was formulated during the last Awami League rule between 1996 and 2001. "We will undo the changes and make the policy more up-to-date," she said, adding that Awami League in its election manifesto promised to ensure women rights in every sphere of life and it would do so. - The Daily Star, March 9, 2010.

HC asks for details on 172 scrap ships
The High Court directed the government to submit by March 18 all documents on 172 ships imported for scrapping since its verdict delivered on March 17 last year in this regard. It expressed concern over deaths of workers at ship-breaking yards. The HC directive came after Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association (Bela) filed an application in January for court directives, saying the government has been arbitrarily authorising import of ships with hazardous substances.
- The Daily Star, March 9, 2010.

Miles to go before just rights
Eminent women rights leaders observe that women are playing significant role in every sector of the country by leaving behind the notion that they are 'half-human beings.' However, the leaders said that the women have miles to go as they are still marginalised in society and deprived of equal rights. Women are going through both encouraging advancement and a static state of deprivation and repression, said Khushi Kabir, a human rights activist, and also the coordinator of Nijera Kori, an NGO. Policies and laws for ensuring women's rights, programmes for women development, increasing number of women in employment and female literacy rate indicate the advancement of women's rights. -The Daily Star, March 8, 2010.

HC told of ship-breaking monitoring committee
A high-powered committee has been formed to monitor ship-breaking activities in the country, a deputy attorney general told the High Court. The committee, headed by the forest and environment secretary, will take necessary steps regarding ship-breaking. Deputy Attorney General Nazrul Islam Talukder told the HC during hearing of a petition filed by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) for stopping dismantling of toxic ships. He also said the government is sincere to follow its directives for framing rules on ship-breaking. - The Daily Star, March 8, 2010.

Law ministry against EC plan to empower executive magistrates
The law ministry has opposed the Election Commission's move to empower executive magistrates to hold trial of some electoral offences in mobile courts in city corporation polls saying it contradicts the Code of Criminal Procedure, said EC officials. "In the draft rules for conducting city corporation polls, the commission gave executive magistrates the authority to hold trial of some electoral offences. But the Code of Criminal Procedure doesn't approve of such delegation," a senior EC official told The Daily Star last week referring to the law ministry's opinion. Executive magistrates presiding over mobile courts cannot sentence anyone more than two years' imprisonment. But the EC draft rules allowed them to hold trial of those electoral offences for which an individual could face up to seven years' imprisonment. - The Daily Star, March 7, 2010.

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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