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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: 189
October 09, 2010

This week's issue:
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Reforms needed more than prisons
A good number of people are in jails without committing any offence while many are under trial, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said while reasoning out the overcrowding in the country's prisons. He argued that taking legal steps and constructing more prisons are not enough to resolve the issue, rather the authorities concerned should reform the prison management and amend the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). He made the remarks at the first day of an international conference titled “Locked up and forgotten'' at Police Staff College in the city's Mirpur. The Ministry of Home Affairs and German Technical Cooperation hosted the two-day long conference with the support of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Brac and Madaripur Legal Aid Associate. -The Daily Star, October 7, 2010.

170 duty-dodging doctors identified
At least 170 doctors of the country's different public hospitals will face departmental action for being absent from workplaces without prior approval of the authority. The punishment includes cutting of their yearly increment and sending them on “punishment posting,” said Dr Md Abul Hasnat, director (administration) of the directorate general of health services (DGHS). Punishment posting refers to posting of government officials in some of the country's remotest areas. The health and family welfare ministry conducted 16 surprise visits in the last two months at different district, upazila and union parishad hospitals and found 170 doctors absent from work, Health Secretary Humaiyun Kabir said. -The Daily Star, October 6, 2010.

6-month jail for offenders
Parliament passed a bill making strong provisions to protect women and children from family violence and repression. The legislation styled 'Family Violence (prevention and protection) Act 2010' authorises the court to hold trial in camera on consensus of both parties to dispose of cases filed under this law. “A person might be punished with up to six month's jail term and a fine of maximum Tk 10,000 or both for committing offence,” says a provision of the bill. It also says a person, filing false case with ill motives, will face up to one-year jail term and a fine of maximum Tk 50,000 or both. According to the legislation, family violence means physical and mental torture, sexual harassment and financial loss caused by a person who has family relation with the victim -- woman or child. -The Daily Star, October 6, 2010.

Secularism back
The High Court ruled that Bangladesh is now a secular state since the original constitution of 1972 has been automatically restored following the Supreme Court judgement on the fifth amendment. In this secular state, everybody has religious freedom, and therefore no man, woman or child can be forced to wear religious attires like burqa, cap and dhuti, the HC said in a verdict. But nobody could be prohibited from wearing religious attires if he or she wishes to wear those, it said. The court also directed the authorities to immediately issue a circular asking all educational institutions not to compel students to wear religious clothes. A division bench of the HC came up with the judgement after hearing a suo moto rule issued by it on August 22 asking the government to explain why compelling women to wear religious attires should not be declared illegal. -The Daily Star, October 5, 2010.

Draft law to ensure safe meat okayed
Against the backdrop of anthrax scare, the government approved a draft law on The Animal Slaughter (Restriction) and Meat (Control) Act-2010. The proposed law aims to ensure checking of pre-slaughtered animals and their meats for the protection of human and animal health and environment. According to the draft law, every slaughterhouse and butcher shop must obtain licence from the government and ensure health check up of their workers. The law has been formulated to frame a legal structure for exporting meat and meat processed goods. The cabinet at its weekly meeting at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair gave final approval to the draft law aiming to ensure safe meat for people. Livestock ministry placed the draft law before the cabinet meeting after getting it vetted by the law ministry. -The Daily Star, October 5, 2010.

Industrial police launched
The industrial police, a specialised unit of law enforcers, formally started its journey, aiming to maintain order in the country's four industrial zones. Initially, 1,580 personnel deputed from the police department will make up the force. They will later be joined by 1,410 more cops to patrol Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Chittagong industrial hubs. A 10-day training programme for the new unit began at Police Staff College. Inaugurating the programme, Home Minister Sahara Khatun said the government has formed the force to ensure no outsiders can incite violence or create anarchy in the industrial sector. Salim Osman, president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufactures & Exporters Association, told The Daily Star they hope the industrial police will help tackle labour unrest. -The Daily Star, October 4, 2010.

Establish women's rights in all spheres
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for concerted efforts among South Asian countries to address the challenges of establishing women's rights in all spheres of life. She made the call while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 7th South Asian regional conference on women rights at Hotel Sheraton. Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and United Nations Development Fund for Women jointly arranged the conference titled 7th South Asia Regional Ministerial Conference, Commemorating Beijing with the slogan “Delivering for Women in South Asia.” High official delegates including ministers and secretaries from eight Saarc member states are attending the conference. The premier in her speech termed women and child trafficking as a major problem in South Asia. -The Daily Star, October 4, 2010.

1 every 3 days in last 9 months
Law enforces killed one person extra-judicially on an average in every three days during the last nine months, revealed Odhikar, a human rights organisation. A report of the body published said at least 90 people allegedly faced extra-judicial deaths across the country during the period of January to September this year. Based on the reports published in national dailies, it stated that among the victims, 40 were killed by Rab, 33 by police, eight persons by the joint team of Rab and police, five persons by the Rab- police-Coast Guard joint team, three by the Rab-Coast Guard joint team and one by BDR. Of the total extra-judicial killings, 71 persons were killed either in 'crossfire' or 'encounters' or in 'gunfights' with the law enforces. -The Daily Star, October 3, 2010.




Corresponding with the Law Desk
Dear reader,
You may send us your daily life legal problems inclu- ding family, financial, land or any other issues. Legal experts will answer those. 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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