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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: 118
May 16 , 2009

This week's issue:
Reviewing the views
Parliament scan
Human Rights monitor
Laws For everyday life
Law letter
Law Ammusement
Fact file
Law Week

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Law week

Probe body summons Sircar, Akhtar, Delwar
The all-party parliamentary body probing alleged graft in parliament secretariat yesterday summoned former speaker Jamiruddin Sircar, his deputy Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui and former chief whip Khandaker Delwar Hossain to appear before it on June 10.

Before hearing the three, the committee will meet on May 31 to discuss the findings of the three sub-committees formed to investigate the allegations of anomalies and corruption during the seven years' tenure of Sircar. At a meeting yesterday, the probe committee accepted reports of two sub-committees. Of the two reports, both submitted on May 5, one recommends taking stern legal measures against the three for drawing over Tk 35 lakh as medical expenses violating laws. -The Daily Star, May 15, 2009.

Army investigation restricted, many finds inconclusive
Mainly the pent-up grievances among the BDR rank and file over many issues, including Operation Dal Bhat, inside the BDR led to the Pilkhana carnage, according to sources.

The carnage at BDR headquarters on February 25-26 left 74 people dead including 57 army officers. Sources involved in the army investigation said there were no conclusive findings of external parties plotting the carnage.

Analysing the incident it was perceived that some external parties might have used the soldiers' grievances to serve their own interest. The 20-member army probe committee headed by Lt Gen Jahangir Alam Chowdhury submitted the report to army chief General Moeen U Ahmed Monday.

The reports suggested that a more powerful probe body be formed to investigate the incident and the culprits be tried under army rules.

It said only 30-35 BDR jawans and clerks started the killings. Sources said since the probe was only a departmental investigation, its terms of reference were not like those of other probe bodies'. Due to this, the committee was unable to collect information and follow clues that might reveal involvement of civilians and political leaders in the carnage or verify information.

Sources said the committee could not record statements of civilians particularly politicians even though some names had come up during investigation. It refrained from looking for details about some unanswered issues though it had some information and clues in this regard. The committee, however, gave its views and ideas on these unsolved issues in brief. -The Daily Star, May 15, 2009.

HC lays down guidelines on sexual harassment
The High Court (HC) yesterday issued a set of guidelines defining sexual misdemeanours to prevent any kind of physical, mental or sexual harassment of women, girls and children at their workplaces, educational institutions and other public places including roads across the country. -The Daily Star, May 15, 2009.

War crime case against Ghulam Azam, others withdrawn
The civil suit seeking a court order declaring Jamaat-e-Islami's iconic leader Ghulam Azam and 35 others war criminals was withdrawn yesterday by the plaintiffs.

In defence of the withdrawal of the suit, Dhaka District Chief Government Pleader (GP) Fakir Deluar Hossain said the civil court dealing with the suit has no jurisdiction to mete out exemplary punishments to the defendants, even if they were proven guilty.

"The court could have only declared them war criminals on the basis of documents submitted by the plaintiffs," said Deluar, who on government directives pursued the private litigants to withdraw the case. The petition submitted by the plaintiffs to the court seeking withdrawal of the case, said the government already initiated steps to try war criminals under the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973 by setting up special tribunals, and the plaintiffs considered the government efforts reasonable.

According to the international crimes act, upon conviction of a war criminal, the tribunal is supposed to sentence the convicted to any punishment proportionate to the gravity of the crime as appears to the tribunal to be just and proper, including death. -The Daily Star, May 14, 2009.

Quick disposal of acid attack cases planned
Monitoring cells would be formed at district levels for quick disposal of acid-violence cases, said Home Minister Sahara Khatun yesterday. "Normally the acid-violence cases take time delaying acid-victims justice.

A national monitoring cell has already been formed in this regard headed by a joint secretary of the home ministry and such cells would be formed at district levels as well," she said at the first international conference of Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) yesterday afternoon.

Talking about the work of ASF for acid-victims, the minister said the government would offer them all kinds of possible support to help acid-crime survivors. She said Bangladesh could be an example for the world by reducing acid violence. She urged all to be united against the brutal crime. -The Daily Star, May 13, 2009.

Third HC bench embarrassed
Yet another High Court (HC) bench yesterday felt embarrassed to hear BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's writ petition challenging the legality of the government decision to cancel allotment of her cantonment residence.- The Daily Star, 11 May,2009.

Shake-up in police 35 high officials transferred
In a latest reshuffle in the police administration, a total of 35 high police officials including two additional deputy inspector generals were transferred.

Of the transferred officers, 33 are superintendents of police (SP), Kamrul Hasan, public relations officer of Bangladesh police, told The Daily Star yesterday. -The Daily Star, 11 May,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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