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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: 68
May 17 , 2008

This week's issue:
Human Rights Analysis
Law opinion
Rights corner
Fact File
Law Interview
Reviewing the views
Law Event
Rights Monitor
Law Lexicon
Law Week

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Law week

EC to collect records of war criminals' trial
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda said the commission would collect records of war criminals' trials under the now defunct Collaborators Act, in a bid to permanently disqualify war criminals from contesting in any election.

In its electoral reform proposals, the Election Commission (EC) said an individual would be permanently barred from contesting in parliamentary elections if that person was convicted of war crimes by any national or international tribunal. The same provision is likely to be proposed for local government elections too.

Besides, according to a Supreme Court order, a contesting candidate will have to submit an affidavit of personal information of eight categories including one for criminal cases filed against that person, and the verdicts in those. -The Daily Star, May 12, 2008.

Women's Reserved Seats in Local Govt
In a surprise move the caretaker government has retreated from its earlier pledge of reserving 40 percent seats for women at all tiers of the local government system for three consecutive terms.

It is widely believed that the government has buckled in the wake of violent protests by hardliner Islamist groups against the National Women's Development Policy 2008. The pledge however was made to effectively empower women at all levels of the local government system. Currently there are around 14,500 women representatives elected to reserved seats in over 4,000 union parishads, 6 city corporations, and the municipalities. -The Daily Star, May 12, 2008.

Mirza Abbas gets 8yrs for tax offences
A special court dealing with graft cases sentenced detained former housing and public works minister Mirza Abbas to eight years' imprisonment on charges of dodging tax and furnishing false information in his tax returns.

The Third Special Court of Judge Shahed Nuruddin also fined Abbas Tk 54 lakh, in default of which he would have to serve another year in jail. The court also ordered confiscation of his property worth over Tk 2.24 crore to the state.The former minister was handed down the punishment under two sections of Income Tax Ordinance, 1984. -The Daily Star, May 12, 2008.

SC lawyers to abstain from proceedings for 2 hrs
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) decided to stay away from moving cases in the Appellate Division for two hours from 9:00am Thursday to protest against a few recent judgments delivered by the apex court. It also decided not to bid farewell to the incumbent chief justice and felicitate his replacement.

The lawyers called for a specific date for holding of a free and fair general election withdrawing the state of emergency in order to establish democracy and rule of law in the country. They also demanded that the government withdraw all false and motivated cases against political leaders and stop misuse of the Emergency Power Rules (EPR). The meeting adopted a resolution expressing disappointment over and surprise at a few judgments of the Appellate Division. -The Daily Star, May 12, 2008.

Law drafted for access to information
The caretaker government has moved to ensure that people get information about functioning of local government bodies as part of efforts to establish accountability and transparency in their activities.

The LGRD ministry has drafted laws on different local government bodies incorporating provisions for people's access to information, and punishment for refusal to give information, sources said. The council of advisers to the caretaker government has already finalised two draft ordinances on city corporations and municipalities, which contain provisions allowing citizens to have information on them. -The Daily Star, May 15, 2008.

Khaleda, BNP bigwigs charged with Gatco graft
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) pressed charges against detained BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, her younger son Arafat Rahman Koko and 22 others in the Gatco graft case.

The accused are charged with causing a loss of over Tk 14 crore to the public exchequer by striking the container-handling deal with Gatco despite the firm's lack of experience and skills. The charges also include misuse of power and collusion among the accused in violating the tender conditions. ACC investigation found Koko and Simon to have received Tk 2.19 crore from Gatco to help it win the contract. The charges were made under sections 409 and 109 of the Penal Code, Section 15 of the Emergency Power Rules-2007, and Section 5(2) of the Corruption Prevention Act 1947. -The Daily Star, May 14, 2008.

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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