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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: 244
July 1, 2006

This week's issue:
Parliament Scan
Law Campaign
Star Law analysis
Reviewing the views
Law Week

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Law Week

Bangabhaban now houses acting, resting presidents
This is how it was supposed to be... upon returning from Singapore, President Iajuddin Ahmed would automatically take the charge of the country's presidency and Acting President Jamiruddin Sircar would go back to being the speaker of the parliament. The day before the president's return from Singapore on June 20, some senior policymakers had taken exactly the above decision, which was approved by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, highly placed sources in the government said. But the scene changed dramatically overnight. Some other ministers and an influential adviser, on the same night that the decision was taken, prodded by an "aspirant of presidency" (readers can easily guess), held a meeting and planned that the acting president should continue in his post for longer and resumption of the president's office by Iajuddin should be delayed. One of the arguments was that the acting president should continue in his post longer to provide the ruling BNP with enough time and opportunity to execute its plan to replace the president. The ministers, who had initially taken the decision that Iajuddin would resume his duty upon his return from Singapore, were stunned by the sudden change in the decision, sources said. "The government could have replaced the president through proper steps without getting into the nasty controversy that is now haunting it," a very senior policy maker of the government told The Daily Star. The Daily Star, June 25.

MP Pintu sues Prothom Alo editor, publisher for defamation
A Dhaka court issued summons upon the editor and the publisher of the daily Prothom Alo to appear before it following a defamation case filed by the ruling BNP lawmaker Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu. The lawmaker along with a huge number of his activists appeared before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's (CMM) Court and filed the case accusing the daily's editor Matiur Rahman and publisher Mahfuz Anam of publishing defamatory stories in the daily at different dates. After the hearing, Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammad Mizanur Rahman recorded statement, took the complaint into cognisance and issued the summons. In his complaint, Pintu mentioned that the daily published a news item titled "Agitation in the Leather Technology College at Hazaribagh, local lawmaker Pintu took police to the college and beat the students" on June 12. On June 14, the daily published another news headlined ''Pintu has a project of Tk 1 crore for a road construction razing over 200 graves of the Azimpur Graveyard but Dhaka City Corporation knows nothing''. The next day the daily run the news titled ''Mayor's stay order on a road construction of Azimpur Graveyard," the complainant added. These news stories were false and intended to undermine him politically and socially, Pintu said. The Daily Star, June 26.

'Spies' posted in jails to watch corruption
The Prisons Directorate introduced 'spies' in prisons across the country to monitor 'corrupt' jail staff and unlawful activities in 66 jails. The move already managed to give rise to strong resentment among the jail staff. Senior jail officials said the introduction of 'spy jail guards' is in breach of the country's jail code and 'unprecedented' in the country's history. "This is a clear violation of the jail code and a design to create a dual administration in the prisons," a senior jail superintendent said, on condition of anonymity, adding that these 'spy jail guards' are not only defying orders of their superiors but also humiliating them by issuing orders of their own. But the Prisons Directorate said the move was necessary for developing the prison system's own reporting mechanism to watch 'what is actually happening in the prisons'. Noting that corruption permeates every nook and cranny of the department, Inspector General (Prisons) Brigadier General Zakir Hossain said, "I've initiated a process to root out corruption which has earned a bad reputation for the whole department. I need my own reporting system to get the job done." Terming the specially assigned jail guards as 'security teams', he said, "I've received permission from the ministry for this." The Daily Star, June 27.

FM accuses diplomats of violating norm
Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan criticised foreign diplomats severely for violating diplomatic norms and poking nose into Bangladesh's internal affairs of politics, election and system of government. "This is beyond diplomatic niceties," he said adding, "there is internationally recognised diplomatic norms and practices, but sometimes we find breach of that and that's why we have reacted sternly." Talking to the members of the Diplomatic Correspondents Association of Bangladesh (DCAB) at state guesthouse Padma over a lunch, Morshed reminded that diplomacy is not bilateral or tripartite bargaining and main functions of diplomats are to strengthen the relations and increase trade and economic cooperation among the countries. He further said that as all diplomats here are accredited bilaterally, there is no scope for grouping or floating a platform. "If they have anything to say, the only window for them is the foreign ministry," he added. The foreign minister said the government and the opposition parties should know the rules of business, so that the foreign diplomats cannot interfere in domestic affairs. Morshed also said it has become a tendency that "we depend on others for protecting our interests, it is not correct, we will have to protect our interests ourselves." The Daily Star, June 28.

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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