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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: 31
August 4, 2007

This week's issue:
Star Law Analysis
Law Vision
Human Rights Advocacy
Law Watch
Rights Corner
Rights Monitor
Fact File
Law Week

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Law week

Rehabilitation of displaced people
New pricing policy for acquired land
The government is formulating a national policy for compensating people displaced due to land acquisition through assessing their total asset losses by "full market value" instead of just considering the average market price of the land and an additional amount. As per law, the additional amount is 50 percent of the average market price of the land acquired by the government. A proposed policy, which will bring changes in the Acquisition and Requisition of Immovable Property Ordinance, 1982, now recommends "joint verification" of the assets of the persons affected. "All project related asset losses will be compensated at full market value which is equivalent to the replacement value for the acquired assets," says the draft of the proposed policy. The proposed policy on involuntary resettlement, the first at the national level, is expected to minimise the problems of the people displaced by development work and riverbank erosion. "The main objective of the proposed policy is to safeguard the rights of the project affected households/persons...to minimise the impacts of displacement on them and ensure that their lives are restored, or improved," Joint Secretary of the land ministry Pius D Costa told The Daily Star. -The Daily Star, July 29.

Moral values needed for curbing graft
Chief Justice Mohammad Ruhul Amin said society and its components will have to be educated on ethics and moral values as law alone is not sufficient to bring down corruption at a tolerable level. He made the observation at a seminar titled "Rule of Law to Establish a Corruption Free Society". The monthly Legal Aid organised the discussion at the CIRDAP auditorium. "My view is that along with addressing the corrupt person upon due enforcement of law, let there be social abhorrence and disapproval of corruption, and private as well as community disassociation of the corrupts," said chief of the country's apex court. Editor of Monthly Legal Aid Khawja Golam Murshed presided over the inaugural session that was attended among others by Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Masayuki Inoue, Country Director of the Asian Development Bank Hua Du, Chargé d'Affaires of the European Commission delegation Francoise Collet, Resident Legal Adviser of the US Embassy Nancy Langston, and former attorney general AF Hassan Ariff. -The Daily Star, July 29.

Probe finds massive graft at BSMMU
A probe committee report submitted, identified a large number of corruption incidents and irregularities in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) while the committee members and many of the teaching staff have expressed doubt about the proper implementation of the recommendations. The seven-member probe committee that was formed on May 6 to investigate corruption in recruitment and procurement since the inception of the university found the involvement of the current administrative officials including Vice Chancellor Prof Tahir. The 250-page report made some 80 recommendations, especially suggesting measures against the incidents of malpractice. The recommendations might be diluted if placed before the Syndicate, as several Syndicate members are out to serve the interest of the administrative officials who were found involved in corruption, they said, adding that even the report may not be sent intact to the health ministry. -The Daily Star, July 31.

HR bodies ask govt not to shut down jute mills
An alliance of 17 human rights organisations urged the government to withdraw its decision to shut down four jute mills and axe 18,000 workers. The coalition, Sramik Nirapatta Forum (SNF), in a statement also viewed that the government did not take any practical decision to save the jute industry. It said the government ignored the recommendations of various quarters including the SNF to set up a national commission comprising experts from the public and private sectors and allocate Tk 300 crore for revitalising the jute sector. The SNF urged the government to check corruption and mismanagement during sale and purchase of jute. The alliance also urged the government to ensure that its allocation of Tk 200 crore for purchasing jute could reach to the mills' authorities in due time. The SNF recommendations also include installation of gas generators in the mills for uninterrupted production and ensuring diversified uses of jute. -The Daily Star, July31.

Voter list
EC proposes to amend law to avoid clash with SC directive

Just days before the commencement of the field level work of preparing the voter list with photographs, the Election Commission (EC) is now searching for options to avoid a conflict with a Supreme Court (SC) directive regarding the electoral roll. The SC in the last one year declared null and void two voter lists, which had been prepared without complying with electoral laws and court directives. The present EC decided to prepare a voter list with photographs afresh but the SC had asked the main election office several times to update the voter list prepared in 2000. Amid such a situation the current EC, which was reconstituted on February 4, is now re-examining the existing electoral rolls ordinance and the court directives regarding the voter list, although it had decided to start the field level work in early August. Sources said the EC in the last two days held hectic meetings to review the proposals for amending the Electoral Rolls Ordinance 1982, which had been approved in principle by the council of advisers to the caretaker government on July 21. -The Daily Star, July 31.

CA for body to ensure admin transparency
Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed asked the authorities concerned to make public administration more dynamic, transparent, accountable and pro-people through necessary upgrading to deliver government services to the people. He also asked for constituting a committee headed by the establishment secretary to determine what to do to ensure transparency of the public administration. The chief adviser gave the direction in a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Public Administration Reform and Good Governance at his office, which observed that reform of the public administration should continue. The meeting, chaired by the chief adviser, elaborately discussed and gave approval in principle to implementation of some interim recommendations of the ATM Shamsul Huq Commission, known as Public Administrative Reform Commission (PARC). The PARC worked from 1997 to June 2001 preparing a report with interim, short and long-term recommendations for restructuring the outmoded system of administration. -Unb, Dhaka, July 31.

SC stays Hasina's bail order till Aug 14
The Supreme Court (SC) today stayed the delivery of the judgement till August 14 on the government appeal filed against the High Court (HC) order granting bail to detained Awami league (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina in an extortion case. The SC stayed the judgement for disposal of the ruling upon the government to explain why the approval of the case under the emergency powers rules would not be declared illegal. It also directed to dispose the rules by August 14. The full bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Ruhul Amin passed the ruling. On July 31, the government filed the appeal with the SC challenging a HC order granting ad interim bail to Hasina in Tk 2.99 crore extortion case and also directing the government not to hold trial of the case under the emergency power rules. On July 30, the HC, following a writ petition filed on behalf of Hasina, granted bail to Hasina. It also stayed the inclusion of the extortion case under the emergency powers rules and issued rule upon the government to explain why the approval of the case under the emergency powers rules would not be declared illegal. The rule is returnable with two weeks. Earlier on June 13, Managing Director of Eastcoast Trading Pvt Ltd Azam J Chowdhury charged Hasina and Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim with extorting Tk 2.99 crore from him for the work of Siddhirganj Power Plant in Narayanganj. On July 24, Gulshan police indicted Hasina together with her sister Sheikh Rehana and cousin AL Presidium Member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, the prime accused. -The Daily Star, August 02, 2007 (online edition).

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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