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September 19, 2004 

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Land law to be simplified: Moudud
All the laws on land and property will be reformed and simplified to facilitate national development, said Law Minister Moudud Ahmed. The process for the reform is going on and four bills will be put forward for discussion in the parliament. He was addressing as chief guest the inaugural session of a day-long workshop of the district registrars held at the auditorium of the Judicial Administration Training Institute.

Presided over by law secretary Alauddin Sarder, the session was also addressed by state minister for law Shahjahan Omar and inspector general of registration Mizanur Rahman. Moudud said the administration and management of land and ownership and transfer of land and properties must be reformed to ensure national development.

The cabinet committee on land reforms has already proposed a 25-point recommendation to the government and the cabinet has approved the report. As a part of the process, four bills to amend the Bangladesh Registration Act 1908, the Specific Relief Act 1877, the Transfer of Property Act 1882 and the Limitation Act 1908 will be placed in the parliament. -New Age, September 13.

Separate land body for ethnic minorities
Samata, an NGO working with the landless people, on Sunday stressed formation of a separate land commission for the ethnic minorities and amendment to the River Erosion and Sedimentation Act.

"The elites and influential quarters mostly occupy the chars violating rights of the landless and the ethnic minorities who are marginalised in the society," Shahrier Amin of Samata told women reporters at a meeting.

Samata organised the meeting to highlight the necessity of forming a different land commission for the indigenous people and to amend the River Erosion and Sedimentation Act. They said the Bengali settlers "grab" lands of the ethnic minorities as they belong to a different culture and "are not familiar with the existing land related laws of the country". The landless and the ethnic minorities are suppressed group and mostly illiterate what the settlers use as a chance to grab their lands. -New Age, September 13.

Judicial body gets three more weeks
The tenure of one-member Judicial Commission on bomb attack on an Awami League rally in Dhaka has been extended for another three weeks. Sources close to the commission, headed by Justice Joynul Abedin of the High Court, told the news agency that they had received the official order relating to its first extension for three weeks. The commission was constituted on August 22 just one day after the attack. -BSS, September 13.

Speedy Trial Tribunal
Transparency International said 67.6 percent speedy trial court cases involved underhand dealings.

The Bangladesh chapter of the Berlin-based international corruption-watch body disclosed the information during the publication of its report on "court watch" in Dhaka.

According to the report, some of the people including magistrates, lawyers and court officials working in the speedy trial courts are involved in the underhand dealings and extract illegal money from accused parties in the cases under the much-talked-about the Law and Order Disturbance Crime (Speedy Trial) Act 2002. The report also said 25.3 percent of the speedy trial court cases were politically motivated and the government influenced more than a third of the cases. -Prothom Alo, September 13.

Women's reserved seats bill placed in JS
A bill was introduced in the Parliament outlining a complex procedure of electing women members to 45 reserved seats on the basis of proportional representation of a party or alliance in parliament.

The 14th amendment to the Constitution has introduced 45 reserved seats of women raising the strength of the 300-seat parliament to 345.

Law Minister Moudud Ahmed introduced the Jatiya Sangsad (Women's Reserved Seats) Bill-2004 needed to execute the 14th amendment for electing the women MPs to the reserved seats.

The 45 women's seats would be allocated to the parties and alliances on the basis of their representation in parliament. After the allocation of seats, a party or an alliance will be able to form separate alliances with other party or alliance or independent members to elect women MPs to the allocated seats. -UNB, September 14.

Corruption rampant in UP, Pourasabha
Corruption is rampant in different service sectors of union parisads and pourasabhas of the country.This was stated in a report on "Local Government" by the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) presented at a roundtable discussion. TIB conducted a study at 52 unions and six pourasabhas under five districts of greater Mymensingh.

According to the study, 40 per cent UP Chairmen and Members are unfair in judgement. The 10 per cent people who faced trials by them had given Tk 4,500 on an average as bribe to win in the judgement. To procure nationality certificates, 8 per cent recipients under UP said they gave Tk 20 per certificate while 61 per cent of pourasabha paid Tk 9 per certificate.

In relief distribution, the report showed that 52 per cent of the total relief recipients have got less amount of assistance against the amount provided by the government. On the role of relief distribution by the UP, 74 per cent inhabitants are unhappy, 20 per cent partially happy and only 1 per cent happy. -The Bangladesh Today , September 14.

Bribes officials for land registration
About ninety percent of households are forced to bribe field level land officials for registration of land as corruption and lack of transparency and accountability reign supreme in land administration, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) revealed. The offices of assistant commissioner (AC) land, sub-registrar, tahsildar, deed writer, Kanungu and settlement officer exacted about Tk12.21 crore in bribe from service seekers, the TIB found in a survey conducted in six municipalities and 52 unions of greater Mymensingh region during October to November last year. Each individual household in municipalities and rural areas had to bribe Tk 2,928 and 1,910 respectively on an average for land registration and about 59 percent households showed land price 49 percent less than actual to evade tax in connivance with registration officials and clerks.

The survey also found that 92 percent of those who needed mutation of land had to pay Tk 1,500 in bribe each and 12 percent of those who sold land had to suffer various hassles including paying bribe. -Daily Star, September 15 .


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