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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: 196
December 27, 2010

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Law week

Double blow for 'mutineer'
A BDR special court for the first time sentenced an accused mutineer to six months in prison and dismissed him from his services on charges of contempt of court. The Special Court-7 brought contempt charges against sepoy Abdul Baset of 24 Rifle Battalion of Pilkhana after he made some arrogant remarks during yesterday's proceedings. “This supreme power [court] will not exist. Allah will do the justice,” said Abdul as the court resumed the trial proceedings of 667 accused mutineers of the battalion at the Darbar Hall of Pilkhana. He did not seek the court's permission before making the statements. -The Daily Star, December 1, 2010.

A plan gone awry at SC
Khaleda Zia's counsels insisted for nearly 90 minutes on making submissions on the contempt petition first to an Appellate Division bench as they had planned to get the leave-to-appeal petition dropped from the cause list. Wishing anonymity, a counsel for Khaleda told The Daily Star about the plan. The lawyer said Khaleda's counsels made a move on November 28, the day before the court hearing, to get the leave-to-appeal petition dropped from the cause list. The BNP chairperson's counsels pressed the apex court bench to hold hearing on the contempt petition first apprehending that the leave-to-appeal might get dismissed right away. The leave-to-appeal petition was at the top of the cause list for hearing. It challenged the High Court verdict that had declared valid the government notice on Khaleda to leave the disputed cantonment house and sought to stay the HC judgment. -The Daily Star, December 1, 2010.

Koko indicted in absentia
A Dhaka court framed charges against former prime minister Khaleda Zia's younger son Arafat Rahman Koko and a former BNP minister's son in absentia in a money laundering case. The other accused is Ismail Hossain Saimon, son of former shipping minister late Akbar Hossain. The same court on October 31 issued arrest warrant against Koko and Saimon in connection with the case. As per the law the accused were supposed to be present in the court at the time of hearing on the charge framing and during the trial proceedings. Judge Mozammel Hossain of the Special Judge's Court-3 fixed January 4, 2011 to start trial of this case through deposition of 23 witnesses. -The Daily Star, December 1, 2010.

Contempt hearing
The hearing of the contempt of court petition filed by Khaleda Zia against the government over the Dhaka Cantonment house was not held, as the Supreme Court did not sit due to the countrywide hartal called by BNP. The SC will hear the petition, said Attorney General Mahbubey Alam. “The judges of the apex court did not sit in the ejlash [courtroom] today considering that the lawyers concerned would not be able to attend the court due to the countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal,” he told The Daily Star. The judges of the Appellate Division came to their offices but did not sit in the courtroom, the AG added. -The Daily Star, December 1, 2010.

Judiciary insulted
Legal experts criticised the role of Leader of the Opposition and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's counsels for "not taking part in the hearing properly" before the Supreme Court during hearing of her cantonment house case. They however expressed mixed reaction over dismissal of Khaleda's leave-to-appeal petition, labelling the case politically "important and sensitive". Eminent Jurist Dr Kamal Hossain said, "In order to have contested issues settled by the highest judiciary, it requires sincere efforts by all parties to maintain respect for the court and the judicial process. "We should all rise above partisan politics and seek to uphold the rule of law," he added. Ghulam Rabbani, a former judge of the Appellate Division, said the reported behaviour of the learned advocates has pained him. -The Daily Star, November 30, 2010.

Govt backs down on case dropping
In the face of widespread criticism from various quarters, Dhaka Metropolitan Public Prosecutor Abdullah Abu requested a trial court to rescind its dismissal of businessman Afatabuddin murder case. The dismissal of the case had cleared 19 accused of murder charges, including two top-listed gangsters, both of whom are on the run. "I submitted the petition to the Environment Appeal Court to reinstate the murder charges against 18 of the accused, including most-wanted criminals Shahadat Hossain and Khorshed Alam," the public prosecutor told The Daily Star adding that earlier he had requested the court to drop the charge only against the number one accused Osman Goni Sarkar, as the charge against him had been deemed politically motivated. -The Daily Star, November 30, 2010.

Settle petty crimes out of court
The Law Commission has recommended that the government introduces plea bargain in the judicial system for expedited adjudication of petty criminal cases through negotiated settlements between plaintiffs and defendants. In plea bargain, persons charged with minor offences must confess willingly to their crimes to courts through affidavits. The plaintiffs and defendants then may reach settlements for reduced punishments for offenders. Punishments for offenders could be reduced to a half or one-fourth of what is stipulated by law, the commission said in its proposal. It added that cases settled through plea bargains should not be allowed to be appealed or revised. -The Daily Star, November 29, 2010.

6 Jammat leaders get bail
The High Court (HC) granted ad interim bail to six top Jamaat-e-Islami leaders including its chief and secretary general in four separate cases. But the Jamaat leaders would not get released from jail following the HC orders, as they are accused in other cases. The six leaders are Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid, Nayeb-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee, Senior Assistant Secretary General Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, leader Abdul Kader Molla and its Dhaka city unit chief Rafiqul Islam Khan. -The Daily Star, November 29, 2010.

It's sexual harassment
Rights activists called for using the term "sexual harassment" to describe bullying of young women saying the words "eve teasing" were too lenient a term to describe the nasty crime of the perpetrators. "In no way it should be seen as a minor offence, which is meant by the use of term 'eve teasing'…it is actually sexual harassment and it's perpetrators must face severe legal actions," civil society activist and economist Prof Anu Mohammad told a discussion. He said use of the term "eve teasing" in a different way intended to make a "serious crime" as simple as a "fun" when the victims' security was exposed to danger. -The Daily Star, November 28, 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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