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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: 147
December 12, 2009

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Law week

Repeal criminal defamation against journos
The Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) has welcomed the Bangladesh government decision to drop arrest warrant provision from the defamation law. But it urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to repeal the provision for criminal defamation against journalists. "We welcome the government decision to drop relevant clauses in the defamation law that allows courts to issue arrest warrants against editors, publishers, reporters or writers," said CJA International President Hassan Shahriar in a statement. - The Daily Star, December 9, 2009.

Final charge sheet by this month: Sahara
The final charge sheet in the BDR headquarters killings case would be received within this month, Home Minister Sahara Khatun said. Chairing a monitoring cell meeting on sensational cases at her ministry, the home minister said they reviewed the progresses in inquiry so far made in 10 cases, including the BDR headquarters killings case and the 10-truck arms haul case. The meeting accepted the death of Ganotantri Party leader Nurul Islam in fire at his house in the capital as a sensational case. - The Daily Star, December 9, 2009.

Bangladesh points at Bali mandate
Expressing concern over the slow progress in climate change negotiations, Bangladesh demanded a legally binding agreement implementing the Bali Action Plan. The Bangladesh delegation at a press briefing in Copenhagen said negotiations are being done by a handful of influential parties bypassing the most vulnerable countries (MVCs) and least developed countries (LDCs). The press briefing was jointly organised by the Bangladesh and Nepal delegations at the press conference room of Bella Centre, Copenhagen. - The Daily Star, December 8, 2009.

Newsmen to get defamation relief
The cabinet approved a draft bill to amend Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 to drop the provision that allows courts to issue arrest warrants against editors, publishers, reporters or writers in connection with cases filed for defamation. According to the draft, they could only be summoned or they could be issued court notices. Chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the cabinet meeting also decided that from now on the government would not allow anyone to cut trees from any green costal belts and places that have a tourism interest. - The Daily Star, December 8, 2009.

Infant mortality rate halved in 18 years
Infant mortality rate in Bangladesh halved in 18 years since 1990, reveals a global flagship report of Unicef released. The report titled "The State of the World's Children" was formally launched at a function at Cirdap auditorium in the capital in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The report on impacts of the convention and the remaining challenges states that the infant mortality rate came down to 43 from 103 per 1,000 births by last year. The mortality rate of children below five also decreased from 149 to 54 per 1,000 within the period, the report mentioned. - The Daily Star, December 7, 2009.

Govt challenges HC orders
The government has begun challenging a High Court bench's recent orders granting bail to a good number of people convicted of serious offences. The attorney general's office filed petitions with the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against bail orders obtained by 18 people sentenced to life in prison. The move comes in response to concern that the “wholesale granting of bail” to the ones found guilty by trial courts of grievous crimes would leave an adverse impact on the society. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam yesterday told The Daily Star his office had filed the petitions with the apex court to have the HC orders overturned. - The Daily Star, December 7, 2009.

Six BDR courts to run 50 trials
Six special courts of Bangladesh Rifles will hold 50 trials for the February 25-26 mutiny in as many BDR establishments across the country. The first of the trials began on November 24 at Rangamati sector headquarters. The second one will get underway tomorrow at Satkhira battalion headquarters. The special court-1 there will try some 55 soldiers from 7 Rifle Battalion at Nildumur under Khulna sector, said sources in the border force. “All six courts will be composed of three members each and headed by Director General Major General M Mainul Islam. As per the BDR law, they will try around seven thousand border guards on charges of mutiny at 50 rifles establishments," said an official involved in making arrangements for the trials. - The Daily Star, December 6, 2009.

Nat'l ID card bill faces changes
The parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs will make recommendations to amend the National ID card Registration Bill-2009. A standing committee source told BSS that in the bill the duration of imprisonment and amount of fine for making false statement regarding ID card and other irregularities would be reduced. The committee in principle has decided to amend section 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the bill. The committee considers that the implementation of punishment recommended in the bill for making false statement and other irregularities is not realistic. - The Daily Star, December 6, 2009.

Another land commission for indigenous people mulled
The government is thinking about forming a separate land commission to settle land disputes of indigenous people who do not reside in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Food and Disaster Management Minister Abdur Razzaque said the prime minister is considering the land commission. "Settling their land disputes was an election manifesto of Awami League. To implement it, either a separate land commission will be formed or the CHT Land Commission will be entrusted with additional responsibilities," he said. - The Daily Star, December 5, 2009.

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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