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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: 165
April 17, 2010

This week's issue:
Law interview
Human Rights advocacy
Law book review
Court corridor
Human Rights monitor
Law Week

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Law week

Decade-old hills admin at stake
The existence of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council for over a decade is under threat as the High Court declared the CHT Regional Council Act 1998 illegal and unconstitutional. The council has been functioning under the leadership of Jyotirindro Bodhipriya Larma, popularly known as Santu Larma, since its formation in 1999 under the act formulated as a result of the historic CHT Peace Accord 1997. The HC bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury declared the act illegal following a writ petition filed in 2000. - The Daily Star, April 14, 2010.

E-voting in DCC polls
The Election Commission has promulgated rules for introduction of electronic voting system in the upcoming polls to Dhaka City Corporation on a limited scale to begin a process for making election management up-to-date. In exercise of the authority of Local Government (City Corporation) Act 2009, the EC made the rules on April 6, specifying the detail procedure of usage of the electronic voting machine in election for the first time in Bangladesh. It has decided to introduce the e-voting system in DCC ward-49 in Dhanmondi area on an experimental basis and completed all necessary preparations to this effect, EC officials said. - The Daily Star, April 14, 2010.

Trial trapped in legal tangle
Nine years have elapsed since the bomb blast at a Bangla New Year celebration at Ramna Batamul in the city that left 10 people dead and scores injured, but the trials of the two cases filed in this connection are yet to be completed. After years of fruitless investigation into the blast that still haunts people, the investigators found link of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) to the carnage during the immediate past caretaker rule. Seven and a half years into the incident Criminal Investigation Department pressed charges against 14 members of banned militant outfit Huji on December 30 in 2008. The bloodbath took place during the Pahela Baishakh celebration on April 14, 2001. - The Daily Star, April 14, 2010.

50 BDR members jailed, 1 acquitted
A special court sentenced 50 accused personnel of 20 Rifle Battalion to different jail terms for their involvement in the Thakurgaon BDR mutiny in February last year. The court however acquitted a jawan as the allegation brought against him could not be proved. BDR Director General Maj Gen M Mainul Islam, heading the three-member special court-2, delivered the verdict in the mutiny case. The other members are Lt Col Mahfuzur Rahaman and Maj Didar Al Latif. - The Daily Star, April 13, 2010.

Cabinet okays Hajj Policy
The cabinet approved proposals for amending the Local Government (Union Parishad) Act 2009 and the Local Government (Municipality) Act 2009 to pave the way for holding the long pending elections to the local government bodies. Chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the weekly cabinet also approved National Hajj Policy (2010-2014) and Hajj Package, fixing Tk 228,615 for each haji this year. Last year the amount was Tk 2,20,550. “The cabinet approved both the amendment proposals of the two laws as elections to the local bodies have become essential,” Press Secretary to the Prime Minister Abul Kalam Azad told reporters after the meeting at the Prime Minister's Office. - The Daily Star, April 13, 2010.

HC gets 17 new additional judges
Seventeen new additional judges were appointed to the High Court Division of the Supreme Court for two years. President M Zillur Rahman made the appointment as per article 98 of the Constitution. The newly appointed judges are SC Registrar Md Shawkat Hossain, Additional Attorney General AKM Zahirul Hoque, district and sessions judges of Dhaka Krishna Debnath and ANM ANM Bashir Ullah, deputy attorneys general FRM Nazmul Ahsan and Md Khasruzzaman, former deputy attorney general JBM Hasan, and SC lawyers M Faruk, Abdur Rob, Kazi Reza-Ul Huq, Md Abu Zafar Siddiqui, Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain, Habibul Gani, Md Ruhul Quddus Babu, Gobinda Chandra Tagore, Sheikh Hasan Arif and Jahangir Hossain Selim. Their appointment will take effect from the day of their taking oath . - The Daily Star, April 12, 2010.

SC extends stay on tree-felling
The Supreme Court stayed for two more weeks tree felling in Khasia settlements of Nahar Tea Garden in Sreemangal of Moulvibazar while a timber trader has so far chopped over 4,000 trees with government permit. Earlier on February 22, the High Court ordered the authorities concerned to allow felling of 3,550 trees as per a government permit. The order followed a petition filed by manager of the tea garden Pijush Kanti Bhattacharya and timber trader Salim Uddin Mohalder. The SC on April 4 stayed for one week the HC order, and directed the attorney general to file a civil petition for leave to appeal within the week. In default, the stay would stand vacated. - The Daily Star, April 12, 2010.

IGP warns tender culprits
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Nur Mohammad said that stern actions would be taken against police officers who would fail to stop tender related violence in their respective areas. The Home Ministry is also considering different possible ways including the introduction of e-tender to avoid such violence, the IGP said. There is a serious instruction from the government to take stern actions against the persons involved in such incidents even if they are the activists or leaders of the ruling party, he added. - The Daily Star, April 11, 2010.

Rooftop hoardings still posing threat
The recent High Court directive to demolish illegal hoardings is almost ineffectual as a previous HC stay order prevents authorities from dismantling thousands of unsafe and unauthorised rooftop hoardings in Dhaka. A HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Md Delwar Hossain on March 22 directed Dhaka City Corporation to dismantle all unauthorised hoardings except those that have obtained the HC stay order against their demolition. The HC bench of Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Farid Ahmed in an order on December 10, 2007 stopped Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, the DCC and the police from dismantling rooftop hoardings until a writ petition filed by Outdoor Advertising Owners' Association (OAOA) is disposed of. Sultana Kamal, a human rights activist and executive director of the legal aid group Ain O Salish Kendra, said the 2007 stay order has rendered the recent directive almost ineffective. The court should have noticed it. - The Daily Star, April 10, 2010.

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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