HC Rule on Govt
Why Judicial Service Rules should not be declared illegal
The High Court issued a rule upon the government to explain why the Bangladesh Judicial Service Rules allowing deputation of judicial officers to executive branches should not be declared to have been made “without lawful authority”. It also asked the government to show cause why the rules governing the terms and conditions and postings and promotions of members of the judicial service “should not be declared unlawful”. A division bench comprising Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Zubayer Rahman Chowdhury issued the rule, following a public-interest litigation writ petition filed by Quazi Abdul Hannan, chief reporter of the daily Shamokal. “The rule is made returnable in four weeks,” says the court order. Ministries of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Ministry of Establishment have been made respondents in the case. The petitioner challenged the legality of the government action as he contended that it “violated” the 1999 landmark judgment in the Masdar Hossain case on judiciary separation and the constitution. It amounts to “undermining the independence of the judiciary,” he said. Barrister M Amir-Ul Islam appeared for the petitioner. -- Unb, Dhaka December 4.
Army suggests changes in draft electoral rules
The army has suggested some amendments to the draft rules on electoral roll, prepared by the Election Commission (EC) and sent to the army authorities seeking their opinion on those. Reviewing the draft, the army gave suggestions on nine sections and sub-sections of the rules for the EC's consideration, sources at the EC Secretariat said. Most of the suggestions are technical that specified the procedure to ensure preparing the voter list properly. The EC is now finalising the draft rules, to be formulated in the next two weeks giving legal coverage to the procedure being followed in preparing the voter list with photographs, and national identity cards. "We have sought opinion of the army on the draft rules since the disciplined force is helping preparation of voter list," Election Commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussain said in reply to a question. The Electoral Roll Ordinance 2007 promulgated on August 9 empowered the EC to formulate rules on electoral roll. Earlier, the power to formulate such rules lay with the government. The EC started the field level task for making voter list with photographs in August, and moved to formulate the draft rules in October. --The Daily Star, December 4.
No scope for Rohingyas to become voters: Says CEC
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda has said there is no scope for inclusion of Rohingyas in the voter list. "Only the country's real citizens who live in particular addresses will be made voters and provided with voter ID cards," the CEC told a view-exchange meeting. The circle chief of the area, government officials, public representatives, the district election officer, enumerators, supervisors and local elite attended the meeting at Bandarban Tribal Cultural Institution. Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) M Shakhawat Hossain, 69 Infantry Brigade Commander Brig General ATM Ziaul Hasan, Bandarban Hill District Council Chairman Prof Tanzama Lusai, Sadar Zone Commander Lt Col Mohammad Ali Sohel and the police superintendent were present as special guests. Deputy Commissioner M Abdul Majid Shah Akhand presided over the meeting. The army officers apprised the meeting of the progress of preparing the voter list with photographs. They said 98 percent work of preparing the voter list with photographs has already been completed in the district and the rest will be finished by December 9. --Unb, Bandarban, December 4.
Sheikh Selim retracts judicial statement
Detained Awami League (AL) leader Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim in a retraction petition told a Dhaka court yesterday that intolerable physical and mental torture, and threat to kill him in 'crossfire' forced him to give a judicial statement in connection with the Tk 2.99 crore extortion case. Selim submitted the petition to the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court, set up under special arrangements at MP Hostel on the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban premises, when he was taken there along with former prime minister Sheikh Hasina. In his petition, the former minister told Judge Mohammad Azizul Haque that the confessional statement was taken following his confinement to an unknown place for a long period, and physical and mental torture in phases. Defence lawyers said Selim's repeated requests to jail authorities earlier to have the confessional statement withdrawn or to take him to court were ignored. The AL leader in his petition said the joint forces arrested him on the night of May 21 without any warrant, and took him away after a four-hour search in his residence. -- The Daily Star, December 4.
Hasina appears in court, hearing stalled until Dec 9
Former premier Sheikh Hasina was produced before a Dhaka court on extortion charges yesterday when the detained Awami League (AL) chief had the first opportunity to claim her innocence, four and a half months into the arrest. The Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court, however, adjourned till December 9 the hearing on charge framing against Hasina and two other accused in a Tk 2.99 crore extortion case as the defence counsel prayed for time to examine necessary case documents. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday stayed a High Court (HC) order that had declared illegal the notice issued by Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) to Hasina, asking her to submit her wealth statement. The defence sought time to examine and check the supplementary charge sheet submitted in connection with the case on Sunday, the copies of which the defence lawyers had not received before the hearing. Hasina will also file a writ petition with the HC on Sunday challenging the legality of convening a court under special arrangement to try her, which her lawyers said is not necessary considering the allegations against their client. AL leader Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim also submitted a retraction petition to the court yesterday to withdraw the confessional statement he had given to the joint forces during an interrogation earlier. Selim in a written statement said he was forced to give the statement under physical and mental torture in phases. The Daily Star, December 4.
Four RU teachers jailed for violating EPR, two acquitted
A Rajshahi court gave two-year jail terms to four Rajshahi University teachers for their role in on-campus student protests in August which violated the Emergency Power Rules (EPR) and acquitted two others on all charges. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ruhul Amin pronounced the verdict and fined each of the convicts Tk one thousand, defaulting on which will carry one more month in jail. The convicted academics are Moloy Bhoumik, Dulal Chandra Biswas, Sayed Selim Reza Newton and Abdullah Al Mamun. Dr M Saidur Rahman Khan, former vice chancellor of the university, and Dr M Abdus Sobhan, syndicate member and convenor of Progressive Teachers' Society, were cleared of the charges. The six teachers were present at the time of sentencing. Former officer-in-charge (OC) at Motihar Police Station, Khondoker Ferdous Ahmed, filed the case against Dr M Saidur Rahman Khan, Dr M Abdus Sobhan and Moloy Bhoumik on August 26 on charge of instigating violence on the campus on August 22. Dulal Chandra Biswas, Sayed Selim Reza Newton and Abdullah Al Mamun were later included in the September 1 charge sheet.-- The Daily Star, December 5.
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