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July 20, 2003 

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  WCRP (Amendment) Bill passed

The JS has passed Women and Children Repression Prevention (WCRP) (Amendment) Bill, 2003 bringing in major reforms in laws concerning women and children repression. With the passes of the Bill, the age of child (in the definition) has been raised to 16 years from 14. The bill says if a woman commits suicide fearing losing her chastity due to wilful act of a person, the person will be then made accused as a provocateur and for that offence he will be punished with maximum ten years and minimum five years of imprisonment. The bill has the provision that a baby born out of rape will be kept under the care of mother and the baby will be known after his/her mother or father or both. Besides, the state will take the responsibility of that baby until he/she attains the age of 21 years. In case of a girl child, the state will take care of her until she gets married. Under this provision, the state will be able to realise the money spent for upbringing of such a baby from the rapist. The bill amends a provision of the original law of 2000 by omitting 'indecent gesture' from the lists of sexual harassment offences, as it is overexploited to harass the opponents. The bill also relaxed certain provisions of dowry saying that only people directly linked in dowry seeking would be considered for trial. The bill provisioned that opinion of the rape victims has to be taken if the need for camera trial arises or if the victim has to be taken under safe custody. -Ittefaq, 14 July.

Code of Civil Procedure amended

The Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2003 has been passed provisioning some measures for quick dispensation of justice. This bill significantly enhances fines for certain offences to curb the trend of filing false cases and vests the district judges with the powers of case-revision in certain cases. It also provides that no ad-interim or temporary injunction against government's development activities can be served without hearing the government, and puts some new measures in case of serving ad interim or temporary injunction on the government. With the passes of the Bill, the amount of compensation has been increased from Tk 5,000 to Tk 1,00000 to curb the trend of filing false cases. -Ittefaq, 14 July.

E-policing to be introduced

The government is planning to introduce e-policing systems to equip the technologically backward law-enforcement agency with modern Internet facility. This will provide people with the opportunity to register case electronically, replacing the need for physical presence at mostly unpleasant police stations. In the first phase, five police stations - Mohammadpur, Dhanmondi, Kafrul, Tejgaon and Mirpur -- will be brought under e- policing. The system will be later introduced to other police stations as well. Targeted police stations will have Internet connections and their own web sites. People will be able to file general diary (GD) and First Information Report (FIR) through the Internet, after which police will supply printed acknowledgement. To reduce the hassle of record keeping databases for charge sheet or FIR will be developed. A secret web-based database of criminals of particular areas under the police station will also be developed. An electronic register will be developed to keep records and statistics of arrests, attendance of officials, accounts of the police station and so on. Police officials on the move, within their areas, will be able to get connected to the databases at the police station via Internet phone. -Law Desk.

Two convicts executed at Comilla Jail

Two convicts in a murder case were executed in the Comilla Central Jail early yesterday. The convicts, identified as Haji Giasuddin, 58, and Jamaluddin, 48, were from Char King Boaliar village of Hatiya upazila in Noakhali district. The District and Sessions Judge's Court awarded them death penalty for killing UP member Abul Kashem in 1990. Their appeal to the High Court and Supreme Court were rejected and they also failed to get pardon from the President. Deputy commissioner, ADC (Revenue), two first class magistrates and civil surgeon of Comilla were present during the execution. -Daily Star, 11 July.

Justice Ruhul Amin at Appellate Division

The government yesterday appointed Justice MM Ruhul Amin to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court by superseding a senior judge of the High Court Division. Justice MM Ruhul Amin superseded senior judge Syed Amirul Islam in the appointment that was signed by President Iajuddin Ahmed. The appointment was made to fill up the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Fazlul Haq on June 30. The Supreme Court Bar Association expressed its resentment over the appointment. -Prothom Alo, 13 July.

Two cops jailed for extortion

The Speedy Trial Court 2, Dhaka, yesterday sentenced two constables to rigorous imprisonment for three years in an extortion case. The convicts are Sohel and Ferdous of Mirpur Riot Control Department. Magistrate Al-Mamun gave the verdict in presence of the accused. The court acquitted two others, as charges brought against them were not proved. They are Constables Ohiduzzaman and Mohammad Shahedul Hossain alias Rana of the same department. In the case filed with the Tejgaon Police Station, it was alleged that at about 4:00 pm on May 1 this year, Kazi Rashedul Hasan went to a shop at Green Road in the city to buy cigarette. The accused, on duty at the road, picked up Rashedul from there. They took him to custody anddemanded Tk 500 from him. -Daily Star, 13 July.

HC for drivers with extra bumpers

The High Court (HC) has ordered the government not to harass drivers with extra bumpers on their motor vehicles till disposal of a rule issued earlier in this regard. The HC order followed a petition filed by Kamruzzaman Chowdhury challenging the legitimacy of a government's order for removal of extra iron bumpers from all motorised vehicles in the capital and seeking an injunction against the order. The decision to remove extra bumpers was taken following the tragic death of a physician of the Orthopedic Hospital who was dragged to death after his foot got stuck to the bumper of a car on Mirpur Road on July 1. Before passing the order, the bench comprising Justice Shah Abu Naim Mominur Rahman and Justice Abdul Awal held that the government has not framed any rule under section 82 of the relevant ordinance and as such there is no law to prohibit use of bumpers. - Bangladesh Observer, 15 July.

Advocacy for rights of women

The First Information Report (FIR) can not be the lone adjudicated component during trial. Pros and cons of a matter should be considered with equal importance before making a judgement. This view was expressed by speakers at a day-long exchange-of-opinion meeting on, "constraint on applying existing laws to check violence against women". Judges of Woman and Child Repression Control Tribunals from all districts under Chittagong division, judges of district and sessions courts and public prosecutors attended the meeting, organised by Naripaxma. Justice AK Badrul Haq of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court was the chief guest at the meeting, presided over by District and Sessions Judge Abdur Rahman Patowary. Justice Haq in his speech said, as the society as well as thoughts and mentality of people are changing with the change of time. So laws are also requiring changes. It should be done through amendment and explanation of laws by higher courts. -Law Desk.

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