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September 21, 2003 

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  Bill on Bar Council passed
The Jatiya Sangsad has passed 'The Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council (Amendment) Bill, 2003' bringing in some amendments. Law Minister Barrister Moudud Ahmed tabled the bill in the parliament. The reforms include certain changes in election procedures of Bar Council and ensuring transparency in maintaining the council fund. According to the bill, no advocate would be allowed to hold office for more than two consecutive terms. Supporting the provision. It also brought changes in the council election process. The new provision says seven regional representatives would be elected through voters' franchise of their respective region instead of earlier process of executive committee elected by voters across the country. -Ittefaq, 18 September.

Sayedee's membership of JS canceled
A vacation bench of the High Court Division of Justice Iman Ali has declared the membership of the Jatiya Sangsad of Delwar Hossain Sayedee illegal for giving false statement of his election expenses. He was elected in a Pirojpur constituency as a four party alliance candidate in the election held on October 1, 2001 defeating Sudhangshu Shekhar Halder of Awami League. Challenging the validity of the election, S S Halder subitted a petition to the High Court Division on November 14, 2001. After nearly two years of hearing the verdict was pronounced. However the court turned down Halder's plea for declaring him elected as he had poled the second highest votes in the general election. However, Delwar Hossain Sayedee has appealed against the verdict to the Appellate Division and the Appellate Division has stayed operation of the High Court Judgement. -Law Desk.

OC arrested on charge of rape
Shah Alam, the officer in charge of Jibannagar Thana, has been arrested on charge of raping a woman and he is now in Chuadanga Jail hajat as his bail prayer has been rejected. He was arrested after the victim gave a statement before a First Class Magistrate alleging that she was violated at the OC's house, where she was engaged for domestic help, at the thana headquarter. Earlier the OC was closed at the Chuadanga Police Line following rape allegations against him by some local people. Meanwhile, medical test found that the woman was raped. - Prothom Alo, 14 September.

Telecoms Act faces more changes
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is likely to propose amendments to the telecoms act for more power to work as an independent regulator, in addition to the amendments sought by intelligence agencies. The intelligence agencies earlier asked for amendments to the act, allowing them to breach privacy of individuals by tapping phone calls and busting e-mails.The telecoms watchdog is considering seeking amendments to some clauses of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Act 2001, which stand in its way of acting independently. The commission will also seek an amendment to have the commission chairman as chief financial officer (CFO), as the act does not specifically define the role of the chairman in financial matters. -Law Desk.

39,768 Gram Sarkar units formed
A total of 39,768 Gram Sarkar units, out of 40,392, have been formed across the country amid opposition by political parties. The process of formation of 15-member Gram Sarkar units in all the wards under 4,488 union parishads began on August 2 and it was scheduled to be completed within 45 days. However, 606 Gram Sarkar units could not be formed in different wards of 19 districts due to recast of wards, river erosion, pending cases, and death of ward commissioners. The 19 districts are Dhaka, Narayanganj, Narsingdi, Gazipur, Kishoreganj, Madaripur, Shariatpur, Chittagong, Brahmanbaria, Chandpur, Comilla, Noakhali, Rajshahi, Natore, Dinajpur, Pabna, Jessore, Magura and Barisal. One hundred and seventeen units are yet to be formed in Comilla, 63 in Chittagong, 81 in Narayanganj, 45 in Shariatpur and 63 in Magura. The Gram Sarkar units in five unions under Barisal district could not be formed because of death of ward commissioners and recast of wards. Pending cases and recast of wards also created obstacles to forming the units in 12 other districts. And river erosion delayed the process in five unions under Madaripur district. It may be mentioned here that a writ challenging the act on the formation of the units is also pending before the High Court. -Daily Star, 16 September.

Amendment to Pvt. Varsity Act likely
The government is considering amendment to the Private University Act 1992 to improve standard of education, financial mismanagement and recruitment of teachers lacking proper qualification. This was said by Education Minister Osman Farruk at a cabinet meeting. The minister said, that the ministry has discussed the issues with vice-chancellors and a study is being conducted to assess the prevailing situation. A committee headed by the chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) is conducting the study. There are now 50 private universities in the country. -Bhorer Kagoj, 16 September

Serving jail without crime
A teenage boy continues to languish in the Juvenile Correction Centre at Tongi, Dhaka, even though the court cleared him of charges about 10 months ago. Md Jamal, 14, of Iswargram under Muktagachha in Mymensingh has been in prison for two years and five months. This was revealed by a press release of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST). Jamal was implicated by Kazi Masud Ahmed of Abhoy Das Lane in a bomb- throwing case No. 82/4/2001 with Sutrapur Police Station on April 25, 2001 under the Public Safety Act. Police arrested Jamal on April 28 and produced him before a court that sent him to custody, with a one-day remand. The jail authorities sent Jamal to the correction centre on June 30, 2001. The BLAST investigation revealed that police filed the FRT (Final Report True) on July 3, 2001, which found Jamal innocent and appealed for his release to the Public Safety Tribunal- 4. The judge ordered to free Jamal on November 18, 2002 that to this day goes unheeded. A resident of the city's Sayedabad area, Jamal used to live by pulling rickshaw. - Daily Star, 16 September.

Charge framed for killing ex-MP
The Speedy Trial Tribunal-4, Dhaka Division, has framed charges against 12 accused for killing former MP Shahjahan Howlader Sujan. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), submitted a charge sheet against 12 people on July 9, this year, showing 43 people as prosecution witnesses. Sujan, 35, a former BNP MP from Brahmanbaria-6 constituency and former vice-president (VP) of Haji Mohammad Mohshin Hall students union of Dhaka University, was abducted by his rivals. He was found dead near Dayel Chattar on the Dhaka University campus on July 3, 2001. Victim's mother Hena Akhter filed an abduction case with Motijheel Police Station the same day, accusing Dr Raushan Alam, Khorshed Alam, Giasuddin Jalali, and Phool Miah. -Law Desk.

Advocacy for juvenile rights
Speakers at a seminar yesterday suggested better ways of dealing with juvenile delinquents, including arranging education for them in safe custody instead of sending them to jail. The seminar was told that a magistrate, superintendent of police and jail superintendent have been asked to review the cases of juvenile delinquents in each district. Dr Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, principal secretary to the prime minister, attended the seminar as chief guest, while Shahudul Haque, inspector general of police (IGP), and E Daniel Selvanagam, executive director of World Vision Bangladesh, attended as special guests. The seminar was organised by Bangladesh Retired Police Officers Welfare Association with the assistance of World Vision. Representatives from different NGOs and officials from Dhaka Metropolitan Police attended the seminar. -Prothom Alo, 15 September.

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