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May 23, 2004 

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HC rule on judge's removal
The government was asked 15th May to show cause within four weeks as to why the removal of Syed Shahidur Rahman from the High Court Division should not be declared unlawful and illegal. A High Court Division bench of Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Zobayer Rahman Chowdhury passed the rule nisi on hearing a writ petition filed by the removed additional judge. President Iajuddin Ahmed ordered his removal on April 20 this year on recommendation from the Supreme Judicial Council that inquired into allegation of misconduct against Shahid. -New Age, 16 May 2004

JS passes Constitution amendment bill
Jatiya Sangsad (Parliament) on 16th May amended the country's Constitution introducing 45 women reserved seats in the assembly and making some new provisions. The House passed the Constitution (Fourteenth Amendment) Bill 2004 .Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Moudud Ahmed piloted the bill, scrutinised by the Parliamentary Standing Committee. As there was no discussion on the bill, the Speaker in a quick move put the bill to division vote. In support of the bill, Law Minister Moudud Ahmed said all the provisions have been incorporated in it through scrutiny, retaining the basic spirit of the Constitution. - New Age, 17 May 2004

Sedition case against AL leader
Awami League leader and former state minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and seven others were 16th May indicted in a sedition case popularly known as Janatar Mancha case of 1996 .Seven out of eight accused in the dock pleaded not guilty when additional metropolitan judge Mohammad Rabiul Hasan read out the charge to them. OC of Ramna police station filing the case three years ago said the accused persons had erected a Janatar Mancha in front of the press club in March 1996 and instigated the government officials and employees to join the agitation in a bid to topple the BNP government. -New Age, 17 May 2004

Trial of Vikhu Gyan Joteey case is opend
After two years the trial process of the much talked about Vikhu Gyan Joteey case is started. Sunday, 18th May, Chittagong District and Session Judge Abdur Rahman Patwary formally initiated the process by taking evidence. At the first day of the trial process younger brother of the accused was taken to the court where he described the incident in detail. - Bhorer Kagoj, 17 May 2004

Draft bill to amend Criminal Law finalised
The Government yesterday finalised a draft bill to amend the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1958 with a view to bringing about changes in three clauses of the Act required for executing the Independent Anti-Graft Commission Act passed by Parliament recently. Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Barrister Moudud Ahmed told yesterday that as per the Anti-Graft Commission Act, the existing Bureau of Anti-Corruption would automatically be abolished as soon as the Commission starts operation. Sources said according to the proposed draft bill, the Special Judges would dispose of the corruption cases under the Anti-Graft Commission Act. -The Independent, 18 May 2004

Barrister Rafiq to face trial
Former Housing and Public Works Minister Barrister Rafiqul Islam Mian is to face trial in the court on corruption charge as the High Court discharged the rule issued earlier upon a petition to quash the case, reports UNB. Bureau of Anti-Corruption filed the case in May 1997 accusing the former BNP minister. He was accused of allotting a government plot to four private firms. -The News Today, 18 May 2004

Direct election to women's seats in JS
Asking for direct election to women's reserved seats in parliament is not irrational, but it needs some time to meet that demand, said a government minister on Tuesday."The introduction of 45 seats is one step forward towards meeting the demand of the women," Women and Children Affaires Minister Begum Khurshid Zahan Haque told at her office. Rebutting opposition criticism, she termed the introduction of 45 women's reserved seats in parliament as a great achievement towards women empowerment. "It's an historical step for the women of the country". -Bangladesh Observer, 19 May 2004

Yasmin murder case
Three policemen are to walk to the gallows for murder after rape of 19-year old Yasmin of Dinajpur in 1995 that had angered the nation and created problem for the then BNP government. The petition of condemned Assistant sub-inspectors Moinul Huq and Abdus Sattar and constable Amrita Lal Barman to review by the Supreme Court its verdict upholding the death penalty was rejected. - The News Today, 20 May 2004

Red alert in Naogaon
Police issued red alert in underground terrorist infested Atrai and Raninagar upazilas following the gruesome murder of two at Saria on 19th May night. Heavy police force were deployed who launched combing operation for hunting down outlawed outfits that claimed slaughtering JMJ men Nazrul Islam and Abdur Rashid on the verandah of a mosque. -The News Today, 20 May 2004

Three to die for Trisha murder
The High Court yesterday rejected appeal and confirmed the death sentence to three young men awarded by the lower court for harrying to death a 10-year-old schoolgirl of Gaibandha in 2002. On September 30, 2002, District and sessions judge of Gaibandha handed down the death sentence to Mehdi Hassan Modern, 19, Mohammad Shahin, 20, and Ariful Islam Asha, 19, for murder of Sadia Sultana Trisha, a student of class four. -UNB, 20 May 2004

EC asks officials to act against code violators
The Election Commission (EC) yesterday asked returning officers responsible for next month's parliamentary by-polls to take stern action against people violating election code of conduct. Chief Election Commissioner MA Syed expressed dissatisfaction over frequent violation of the code and attacks on Bikalpa Dhara supporters.They would discuss deployment of army in the constituencies when it sits to review law and order on May 22. -The Daily Star, 20 May 2004

Official Secrecy Act to liberalise
Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Barrister Moudud Ahmed said that the government is examining the Official Secrecy Act to liberalise it as much as possible. The "Right to Information", another law is being scrutinised which would exclude some of harsh provisions of the Official Secrecy Act, the minister said. When it enacted, would enable the people and the media to get"quality and accurate" information. -The Independent, 20May 2004

Waiting for justice for 12 years
After 27 hearings at the High Court (HC) Division and 21 at the Supreme Court (SC) Appellate Division, the Billal Hossain Bepari murder case filed more than 12 years ago is still awaiting verdict. During the course of trial, judges felt embarrassed, public prosecutors were transferred and 9 of the 34 prosecution witnesses declared hostile. The case remained suspended ever since the SC stayed its proceedings on October 22, 1998.After more than five years, the case finally resume after the SC vacated the stay order last week. -The Daily Star, 21 May 2004

Plan for prisoners to work in community
The government is planning to introduce community service for prisoners, who are convicted in criminal cases and sentenced to jail for a maximum of five years, would be freed on condition of giving prescribed community service and treated as community prisoners. Where they would be allowed to stay with their families and have to report regularly to an official assigned by the government apart from doing community service. The cabinet committee on jail reforms is working on the proposed system that is still on the drawing board. The United Nations Develop-ment Programme (UNDP) has already offered to provide the government with both technical and other assistance for introduction of the community prisoner system. -The Daily Star, 21 May 2004

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