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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: 182
August 14, 2010

This week's issue:
Human Rights monitor
Court corridor
Rights corner
Your Advocate
Law event
Human Rights Watch
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Law Week

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Law week

Interim govt defrauded people by forming Tac
The immediate past caretaker government defrauded the people by forming the now-defunct Truth and Accountability Commission (Tac), the High Court observed in its judgment that declared the commission illegal. It said the Voluntary Disclosure of Information Ordinance 2008, by which Tac was constituted, was formulated by misinterpreting and violating numerous articles of the country's constitution. The ordinance was enacted "by deception, tantamount to fraud", and it encroached upon the existing system of criminal justice, the existing courts, the constitution, and the people, in the name of an alternative system of justice, the court observed. The full text of the HC judgment was released on June 22 this year, over a year and a half into the announcement of the verdict on November 13, 2008.
-The Daily Star, August 12, 2010.

Justice a mere dream
The country is devoid of the rule of law, said Prof Mizanur Rahman, the chairman of National Human Rights Commission. The rule of law is totally absent in the country where most people fail to get justice because of poverty and ignorance, he said at the launching ceremony of a policy note on the judiciary at TK Bhaban at Karwan Bazar in the capital. Institute of Governance Studies (IGS), a research organisation of BRAC University, published the note with a recommendation for forming a supreme judicial commission to appoint judges to the Supreme Court. The NHRC chairman said the court in the country is only for the rich and the hope of getting justice is merely a pipe dream. The law is applicable only to punish the poor, not the rich, Mizanur said. There is a public perception that one has to buy justice with money, he said. Incidents of human rights violation occur in the country due to malfunction of the judicial system, the NHRC chairman said. -The Daily Star, August 12, 2010.

Unfit vehicles back on roads
The drive against old vehicles is proving to be ineffective as many of the rundown buses and minibuses have returned to the city streets two weeks after mobile courts launched the crackdown. Since the drive is being enforced only four days a week and till 4:30pm, a number of unfit vehicles are seen plying freely in different areas of the capital. Sixteen mobile courts launched the drive strongly on July 15 resulting in lots of dilapidated vehicles keeping off the road. Currently, only eight of them are operating due to shortage of magistrates and logistics support weakening the drive. “The government's move on July 21 to allow 25-year-old trucks to run in the city has widened the scope for old buses and minibuses to return to the city streets,” said a communications ministry official, requesting anonymity. -The Daily Star, August 11, 2010.

Govt 'wakes up' to war trial reality
The government will soon appoint a group of renowned jurists to the prosecution team to move for the state in war crimes trial at the International Crimes Tribunal. Four top policymakers of the government made the decision to expand the prosecution team following a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday. Hasina at the meeting gave some guidelines for making decisions over some crucial issues including the trial of war criminals, meeting sources said. Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Finance Minister AMA Muhith, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Adviser HT Imam were at the exclusive meeting held at the finance ministry Sunday. Sources said after evaluating initial performance of the existing seven-member prosecution team formed under the International Crimes Tribunal Act, the premier exchanged her views with senior policymakers of her cabinet to take necessary steps to further strengthen the prosecution team. -The Daily Star, August 11, 2010.

Indigenous people press for rights

Indigenous people demanded constitutional recognition of the ethnics at a rally in celebration of the International Day of the World's Indigenous People at the Central Shaheed Minar in the city. Constitutional recognition will remove all the barriers that come in the way of ensuring the basic rights and improving the social status of Adivasis, said Sanjeev Drong, general secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous People's Forum (BIPF). Prof Mesbah Kamal, general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Adhikar and Research and Development Collective, said it is necessary to appoint representatives from the Adivasi communities in the recently formed committee for constitutional amendment to speak for their benefits. The government must give a clear roadmap concerning fast implementation of the CHT (Chittagong Hill Tracts) Peace Accord, 1997, and settlement of land disputes between Bangalee settlers and Adivasis, said the participants at the programme organised by BIPF. -The Daily Star, August 10, 2010.

Corporal punishment to students banned
The government slapped an outright ban on indulging in physical punishment to the students at all educational institutions in the country. An education ministry circular asked the district education officers and upazila secondary education officers to take action under the existing law along with departmental action against such misconduct. The decision came against the backdrop of increasing number of such incidents recently.

It has been noticed that teachers of some educational institutions impose inhuman punishments on the students for various reasons including violation of discipline and negligence in study. Such news is often published in media, the circular signed by Education Secretary Syed Ataur Rahman said. -The Daily Star, August 10, 2010.

HC clears way to publish BCS results
A High Court bench allowed the Public Service Commission to publish the preliminary results of the 30th Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS). Earlier on Sunday, the same bench directed the PSC not to publish the results until further order in response to a writ petition, filed by 19 students following revelation of errors and inconsistencies in 10 to 15 queries in set-2 question paper of the preliminary test. During the hearing, the bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain, however, raised question on competence of PSC chairman Saadat Husain. “How the PSC chairman continues holding the position even after revelation of errors in the question paper of BCS exam? He should have resigned of the office immediately afterwards”, the bench observed. The bench said the PSC chairman cannot absolve the liabilities. - The Daily Star, August 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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