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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: 190
October 16, 2010

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Khaleda asked to vacate in a month
The High Court declared valid the government notice asking BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to vacate her Shaheed Mainul Road residence in Dhaka Cantonment within a month. The court came up with this verdict after rejecting a writ petition filed by Khaleda Zia challenging the government notice. An HC bench comprised of Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana and Sheikh Hassan Arif also vacated its stay order on the notice. Details of the verdict could not be known immediately. Khaleda's principal counsel TH Khan said they are stunned by the HC judgement. “We will decide on filing an appeal with the Supreme Court against the judgement after consulting our leader,” he said. - The Daily Star, October 14, 2010.

5 officials appear at High Court
Five government high officials, among six, appeared before a High Court (HC) bench in connection with a contempt of court petition. Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) filed the contempt petition with the HC against them for providing no objection certificate (NOC) to two toxic ships violating a court order. The chairman of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) could not be present at the court due to the unrest at the port. The court directed the CPA chairman to appear before it on October 28. The five officials, who appeared before the court, are Monwar Islam, director general of the Department of Environment (DOE), its Director (Chittagong Port) Md Zafar Alam, Director General of the Department of Shipping Rear Admiral Bazlur Rahman, its Chief Chemist Mosharraf Ashraf and Collector of Customs (Import) Golam Kibria. - The Daily Star, October 14, 2010.

Constitution to be reprinted soon
The government is going to reprint the constitution restoring the articles that were either amended or repealed during the first martial law regime. The Ministry of Law will conduct the printing as soon as possible in line with the Supreme Court's landmark verdict scrapping the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The decision came at a meeting of the parliamentary special committee for constitutional amendment. Similarly, changes that were incorporated into the Constitution through martial law proclamations and ratified by the Fifth Amendment will also be dropped from the country's supreme charter, a committee member told The Daily Star. - The Daily Star, October 13, 2010.

ACC bans use of phone by its officials for inquiry
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has imposed a ban on land phone or cellphone use by its officials during investigation. Against the backdrop of widespread allegation of extortion over phone using names of ACC, the anti-graft watchdog came up with the decision. “We have taken the decision so that no dishonest person can take privilege of a situation, and to save people from harassment and cheating,” said ACC Chairman Ghulam Rahman. During investigation, an ACC official normally uses phone to make appointment with suspects or to communicate with them for their interview regarding a complaint. - The Daily Star, October 13, 2010.

Stop issuing NOC to import toxic scrap ships
The High Court (HC) directed the government authorities not to issue any no objection certificate (NOC) for importing scrap ships in the country without environmental and decontamination certificates. The court also recalled the recent interim order of another HC bench, which allowed importing ship without environment clearance certificate (ECC). An HC bench comprised of Justice Md Imman Ali and Justice Obaidul Hasan passed the order in response to a petition filed by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA). The HC earlier directed the government not to allow any ship-breaking yard to run without ECCs. But none of the ship-breaking yards obtained any ECC from the Directorate of Environment (DOE). - The Daily Star, October 12, 2010.

Move on to include RTI in textbooks
Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Muhammad Zamir has said efforts are underway to include right to information issues in the secondary, higher secondary and madrasa level textbooks. “We have to make common people aware of their constitutional rights to information to attain the objectives of Information Commission,” he said. The commissioner was speaking at a discussion on the implementation of the Right to Information Act with the representatives of print media at the commission's conference room. The CIC said he has already discussed the matter of including some chapter on human rights issues in school, college and madrasa education syllabus with high level policy making bodies and individuals. - The Daily Star, October 12, 2010.

Save Lalbagh fort from grabbers
The High Court directed the government to take a set of steps to protect and preserve the Mughal-built Lalbagh Kella (fort) in Old Dhaka. As directed, the government has to demarcate the fort area through a survey and remove all private structures from there within three months. The Directorate of Land Records and Surveys will conduct the survey, the court said. The HC also ordered construction of a five-metre wide walkway around the historic fort following legal procedures. An HC bench comprised of Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore issued the directive in response to a petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh. -The Daily Star, October11, 2010.

High Court 'exonerates' EC Sohul
The High Court (HC) "exonerated" Election Commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussain from a contempt of court charge, while observing that he was grossly contemptuous. An HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain said the election commissioner was contemptuous of the court by making comments on a sub judice matter regarding the Jatiya Sangsad membership of Awami League leader MK Alamgir. The "exoneration" was granted because the accuser, MK Alamgir, himself had requested for the relief, it added. - The Daily Star, October 11, 2010.

Target borderland disputes
Bangladesh and India are going to hold bilateral talks in a bid to permanently resolve all border related issues in New Delhi on November 10-11. A highly placed source says the Awami League government is determined to resolve the decades-old disputes involving 3,000 acres of Bangladesh land inside India, 51 enclaves and 6.5 kilometres of un-demarcated border. Similarly, India has around 3,500 acres of land and 111 enclaves adversely possessed inside Bangladesh. Since assuming power the AL-led government has been persuading India to address these issues once and for all. Delhi has finally agreed to hold a meeting of the Joint Boundary Working Group (JBWG) of both the countries. - The Daily Star, October10, 2010.



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