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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: 218
May 14, 2011

This week's issue:
Law Vision
Human Rights Watch
Your Advocate
Law Book Review
Law Amusements
Law Week

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Law Week

Fatwa can't be forced: SC
Modifying a High Court verdict declaring fatwa (religious sermon) illegal, the Supreme Court on May 12 ruled that properly educated persons can issue fatwa but cannot force anyone to accept it. “No punishment including physical violence or mental torture in any form can be imposed or implicated on any body in pursuance of fatwa,” the court said in its verdict. No body can pronounce fatwa that violates or affects the right or reputation or dignity of any individual, it added. A six-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque came up with the verdict after allowing in part two separate appeals filed against the High court verdict that declared fatwa illegal. The SC in its short order said the declaration of the HC division that impugned fatwa is void and unauthorised, if maintained.-The Daily star online edition May 12 2011.

Legal block to power takeover by military
The Supreme Court in a verdict on May 11 blocked the way for legitimising extra constitutional usurpation of state power such as military takeovers. It reinstated a part of a High Court verdict, on the 5th amendment to the constitution that had earlier been expunged by the SC itself. The HC in 2005 cancelled the paragraphs 3A and 18 of the fourth schedule under article 150 of the constitution which had made ways to legitimise rules and regulations and all acts under the first martial law regime between August 15, 1975 and April 9, 1979. In a reversal of decision, the same court 0n 11 May upheld the HC Division's nullification of those paragraphs. A five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by newly appointed Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain delivered the verdict.- The Daily star May 12 2011.

Court summons Hashem, family members
A Dhaka court on May 11 summoned former BNP lawmaker and Partex Group Chairman MA Hashem and seven others to appear before it on May 25 in a tax evasion case. Judge Mohammad Zohurul Hoque passed the order after National Board of Revenue (NBR) filed the case against Hashem and seven others with Senior Special Judge's Court. NBR Deputy Tax Commissioner Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman mentioned in the case that the accused dodged tax amounting to Tk 13 crore from fiscal year 2005-2006 to 2008-2009. Earlier, two more tax evasion cases were filed against the accused. - The Daily star May 12 2011.

Caretaker system declared illegal
The Supreme Court has declared illegal a 15-year-old constitutional provision that mandates an elected government to transfer power to an unelected non-partisan caretaker administration to oversee a new parliamentary election on completion of its term. In the same verdict on May 10 the highest court said the voided system may be practiced for another two parliamentary terms for the sake of “safety of the state and its people”. The court also asked the parliament to amend the constitution to make sure that former chief justices or any other Supreme Court judges are not chosen as heads of caretaker governments in case the system is kept for another two parliamentary elections. A seven-member SC panel, headed by Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque, reached the verdict on majority vote. It thus also rejected a 2004 High Court ruling that upheld the 13th amendment to the constitution which provides for a 10-member non-partisan caretaker government to take over following the dissolution of a parliament and resignation of an elected government on completion of its term.-The Daily star May 11 2011.

SQ Chy threatens war crimes investigators
BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury threatened to exact revenge on the investigators of the International Crimes Tribunal on May 10 during interrogation over his involvement in crimes against humanity. Members of the investigation agency said Salauddin, a BNP standing committee member, misbehaved with them while questioning. However, the interrogators extracted valuable information about his involvement in some of those crimes, said Abdul Hannan Khan, coordinator of the investigation agency. The team led by Abdur Razzak quizzed him over his role, activities and political affiliation before, during and after the 1971 war. - The Daily star May 11 2011.

Child-clubbing cops warned
The High Court on May 08 issued a rule upon two police officials of Khulna Sadar Police Station to show cause within next two weeks as to why legal action against them should not be taken for abusing a child. An HC bench issued the rule upon S M Kamruzzaman, officer-in-charge and Moniruzzaman, sub-inspector of Khulna Sadar Police Station, after hearing a writ petition recorded in connection with physically abusing nine-year-old Belal Hossain of Baniakhamar area in the city. Md Ahmad Ali, executive director of Bangladesh Human Rights Implementation Committee (BHRIC), filed the writ petition. -The Daily star May 10 2011.


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