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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: 8
February 24, 2007

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Human Rights Monitor
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Law Week

EC starts close review of election laws
The Election Commission (EC) started reviewing the existing election laws to bring in massive electoral reforms, but it did not say how much time will be required to complete the task. "It's a massive task. We have just started examining the election laws. After a few days, we will be able to say how much time will be needed to complete the task," Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda told reporters after an EC meeting that started the review of the existing election laws. "Our only objective is to proceed with the process for holding a free and fair election. We are not sure how much time the process will take," the CEC said replying to a query about a tentative timetable for holding the next parliamentary election. The EC at its first review meeting took up the review of Representation of the People Order 1972 that contains 95 provisions and a large number of sub-provisions. The EC reviewed 12 provisions of the order yesterday and will continue discussions to prepare a set of draft proposals for reforms. The CEC said a draft will be prepared after reviewing the election laws and the recommendations from the civil society and different organisations. Then the EC will consult with the caretaker government, political parties and the civil society seeking their opinion. The Daily Star, February 19.

50 given 72 hours to submit wealth report
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) published a list of 50 persons, including three dozen former ministers and lawmakers, and top politicians and businessmen, in the first phase of publishing names of 420 top corrupt suspects. The 50 were asked to appear before four assigned ACC directors and submit their wealth statements at the ACC office in Segunbagicha within 72 hours of receiving the notification. If they fail, their movable and immovable properties will be attached for a temporary period. The list has the highest number of 26 leaders from the BNP, 18 from the Awami League (AL), one each from Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ), and two former secretaries and two businessmen. Of the 50 people, eight former ministers and 13 lawmakers are from BNP and four former ministers and 10 lawmakers are from the Awami League. Already 22 of the 50 people have been arrested. The Daily Star, February 19.

Review appeal of JMB man on death rejected
The Supreme Court summarily dismissed the review petition filed by Khaled Saifullah, one of the six condemned JMB outlaws in prison, for non-prosecution. The order came since the court found no specific grounds for review of its earlier order. On November 28 last year, the Supreme Court rejected all the six applications filed by the condemned JMB militants, including Khaled Saifullah, seeking leave to appeal against their death sentences in the Jhalakathi judges killing case. Unb, Dhaka, February 20.

Candidate's Info Disclosure
SC dumps its own surprise order after courtroom chaos
The Supreme Court (SC) in an unprecedented move recalled within three hours its verdict against collecting eight-point personal details of a parliamentary candidate amidst stubborn opposition from lawyers. A four-member SC Bench headed by Chief Justice Syed JR Mudassir Husain gave the verdict, overruling a High Court judgement to allow candidates not to submit personal and wealth statements to the Election Commission (EC). The SC had earlier fixed the day for its judgement on the appeal of one Abu Safa who had filed it to overturn the HC verdict given on May 24 in 2005. Disposing of a writ petition filed by three lawyers, the HC had asked the EC to gather personal details like academic qualification, profession, source of income, criminal records and some other information about aspirants for contesting parliamentary polls and publish those to help voters choose their representatives properly. Surprisingly, a single-member SC Vacation Bench comprising Justice Joynul Abedin on December 19 last year stayed the HC decision without hearing any submission from the three petitioners. On July 3 in 2005, Abu Safa who hails from Swandip filed his appeal with the SC Chamber Judge's Court. February 21, The Daily Star.

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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