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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: 192
June 4, 2005

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Law week

Women reserved seats In Js HC clears way for election
The High Court upheld the 14th amendment to the constitution providing for 45 reserved seats for women in parliament and the law for their indirect election.
Discharging three writ petitions that challenged validity of the provision, a High Court division bench termed the amendment "not unconstitutional," clearing the way for holding the election to the reserved seats in time. The petitioners said they would move the Appellate Division against the verdict. "We will continue our legal battle," said Farida Akhter, one of the petitioners.
Parliament passed the 14th amendment in May last year, enacted the law for holding indirect election on November 29 and gazetted it on December 8.
But the election could not be held within the stipulated period (90 days from enactment of the law) because of a High Court stay order following three public interest litigation writ petitions filed by 13 women rights groups and individuals.
The court observed that in the Ahmed Hossain case (that challenged the 10th amendment provisions of women's reserved seats), the Appellate Division had said that indirect election cannot be called undemocratic and it has sanctions of the constitution itself.
The 14th amendment does not go against the basic structure of the constitution, the court observed. Sigma Huda, a counsel for the petitioners, told reporters after the judgement: "The Supreme Court's guidelines act as bindings on the High Court. The High Court cannot deviate from such guidelines." Dr Kamal Hossain, Dr M Zahir, Tania Amir and M Asaduzzaman also appeared for the petitioners. - The Daily Star, May 31.

SCBA turns to president, PM over Faizee
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) sought intervention of the president and the prime minister for resolving the raging controversy over the LLB certificate and age of Additional High Court Judge Faisal Mahmud Faizee.
The SCBA sent a letter to the president, the prime minister, the chief justice and the law minister where it urged them to take immediate steps to put an end to the controversy and thrash out problems arising out of it.
The letter did not, however, refer to the resolution of the issue by the Supreme Judicial Council, the lone authority to investigate allegations against a sitting judge.
"An uneasy and delicate situation is prevailing across the country as well as in the sphere of the judiciary due to the controversy over Faizee's certificate and age," reads the letter signed by the secretary.
Faizee did not have the original LLB certificate while he took oath as judge, the letter said, adding although the Chittagong University issued a provisional LLB certificate, its syndicate decided later against issuing the original certificate because of the flaw in the marks-sheet.
In October last year, national dailies Prothom Alo and Bhorer Kagoj ran reports that results of law graduation examinations of Faizee were tampered with, prompting the SCBA to boycott Faizee's court. - The Daily Star, May 31.

New rules to try Rab offenders Maximum penalty life term
The government has framed new rules making provisions for trial of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members for their crimes under three trial processes--Special Court, Summary Court and Departmental Proceedings.
"We hope that the newly framed rules and regulations developed in line with the Armed Police Battalion (APBn) Act will come into force within a month," said State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar after meeting with Rab high officials at his ministry.
The Special Court headed by an additional inspector general of police and comprising another person having the status of a police superintendent will have the power to award a minimum of seven years to the maximum of lifetime imprisonment. A deputy inspector general of police will head the Summary Court which will comprise another person holding the post equivalent to a police superintendent. The Summary Court will have the power to award delinquent Rab personnel up to three years' imprisonment. - UNB, May 30.

Attorney general at odds with lawyers
Bangladesh Bar Council has engaged in a rift with the attorney general, who is the council's ex-officio chairman, over holding an emergency meeting on lawyers' rights and privileges following a court ban on their agitation.
The dispute has forced the council, the statutory body of lawyers, to go for holding a "requisition meeting" this month, for the first time in its history, in the face of repeated resistance from the attorney general since late last month.
The elected council members wanted to hold an emergency meeting following the recent High Court ban on lawyers' agitation but the newly appointed Attorney General from (AG) AJ Mohammad Ali refused to authorise the meeting. The rift developed in the council that represents 28,000 lawyers across the country, against the backdrop of the lawyers' continuous agitation for removal of controversial Additional High Court Judge Faisal Mahmud Faizee.- The Daily Star, June 3.

Corresponding with the Law Desk
Please send your mails, queries, and opinions to: Law Desk, The Daily Star 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215; telephone 8124944,8124955,fax 8125155;email <dslawdesk@yahoo.co.uk,lawdesk@thedailystar.net


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