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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: 41
October 27 , 2007

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CJ to inaugurate judiciary separation on Nov 1
Chief Justice (CJ) M Ruhul Amin will formally inaugurate the historic event of separating the judiciary from the executive control over the subordinate courts on November 1. With the inauguration of the separation at a landmark ceremony at the district court in Old Dhaka, the country's judiciary, one of the state organs, will be fully independent in its domain of dispensation of justice. Informing the media about the preparation, Supreme Court Registrar Ikteder Ahmed yesterday said, "The newly appointed judicial magistrates have already started joining their respective courts." Initially, a total of 179 judicial magistrates have been appointed and they have obtained an orientation course prior to taking up their new profession. - Unb, Dhaka, October 23.

DCC comes under task force watch
Amid allegations of massive corruption and irregularities, the army-led Task Force against Egregious Crimes and Corruption started looking after the activities of Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) to bring necessary reforms to make it a vibrant service-oriented organisation. The DCC came under the task force's supervision as part of the caretaker government's drive against institutionalised corruption in the second phase of the ongoing anti-graft campaign. The task force is already looking after the activities of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) that first came under its monitoring. Such other organisations, allegedly corrupt, will also be brought under the purge but they are giving priority to training their guns first on service- oriented ones, according to sources. "The task force came to look into the DCC's service rules and its mandates and work for bringing reforms in it to make the corporation more service-oriented so that people could get more facilities. They will also look into whether there were any corruption in the DCC in the past," Mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka told The Daily Star. A task force team led by Lt Col Shamsuzzoha Mohammad Salehuddin held a meeting with the mayor and heads of different wings of the DCC. Talking to reporters, Salehuddin said they came to the DCC to review its policy-level matters. -The Daily Star, October 23.

Executive magistrates to get temporary judicial power
Caving in to some demands of the administrative officials, the government yesterday decided to give the executive magistrates temporary judicial powers in certain cases. Announcing the decision after an inter-ministerial meeting, Law Adviser Mainul Hosein said rules would be amended later to give it a legal cover. The admin cadres at a highly charged seminar called for the government to defer and review of separation of the judiciary scheduled to take effect from November 1. The following day Bangladesh Administrative Service Association met the law adviser and placed a set of recommendations. They urged the government to return some magisterial powers to the administrative officials so they can initiate legal proceedings, order investigation into cognisable cases, maintain law and order, run mobile courts during anti-adulteration and eviction drives and inspect examination halls. "The executive magistrates will continue work like running mobile courts,” the law adviser observed. An amendment to the rules in the process of separation of the judiciary took away the judicial powers of the executive magistrates. He said his ministry is working on a draft of amendments to give them the power permanently. -The Daily Star, October 24.

DMP to punish and act against illegal arrest
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) is going to introduce a mechanism to punish policemen for any illegal arrest and allow the victims to lodge complaints about any such harassment. Under the new mechanism, the policemen concerned, the officer in-charge and the supervising officer will face punitive actions if any illegal arrest is made. The step comes as a tough action to check harassment of innocent people by policemen through wrongful arrest and confinement. To ensure accountability of their subordinate officers, DMP deputy commissioners (DC), additional DCs and assistant commissioners (ACs) will monitor all cases and arrests. The victims of police harassment from now on will be able to lodge complaints to the commissioner, additional commissioner, DCs or OCs against the policemen responsible. "If any illegal arrest is made the supervising officer, OC and the police officer concerned will face tough departmental action," DMP Commissioner Naim Ahmed told The Daily Star. The DMP authorities have already identified 10 means corrupt police personnel have been using to harass people over the years. These include making illegal arrest, issuing threat of arrest, detaining wrongfully and releasing later in exchange for money, unnecessarily taking into police remand for illegal purpose, forcing people to provide money by issuing unnecessary inquiry slip, misusing court petitions to compel people to bribe the police, implicating people in false cases, taking bribe from complainants and misusing section 54 of Criminal Procedure Code and DMP Ordinance. -Prothom Alo, October 24.

Justice Fazlul Haque quizzed, flat raided
The joint forces have conducted a nearly five-hour raid on the apartment of Justice Fazlul Haque, adviser to the immediate past caretaker government, who had been listed as one of the corruption suspects by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) recently. A group of some eight joint forces personnel arrived at Haque's apartment at Al-Baraka Tower at city's Katabon and quizzed the former adviser for hours. The law enforcers searched his flat thoroughly and seized some documents, sources in the law enforcement agencies said. None of the joint forces members talked to the media waiting outside the building. Haque could not be reached for his comments either, as he neither opened the door of his apartment nor received any calls. Haque's name was mentioned on the ACC's fresh list of corrupt suspects published on October 4. The ACC has recently entrusted its Assistant Director Mohammad Ibrahim to investigate the wealth of Haque, who was the adviser for law, justice and parliamentary affairs, forest and environment and land in the Iajuddin Ahmed-led caretaker government. -The Daily Star, October 24.

ACC seeks changes to its constitution
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday proposed bringing amendment to its constitution in order to determine its status as "independent, self-governed and impartial" instead of the present "independent and impartial". The commission sent a letter to the Cabinet Division regarding the proposal as it has been facing difficulties in carrying out different tasks, including recruitment and formulation of recruitment rules. Although the preamble to the ACC constitution declares the commission as independent, the anti-graft body will not be able to work effectively if it is not made self-governed, said officials at the ACC. ACC Secretary Mukhles Ur Rahman, who submitted the proposal to the Cabinet Division yesterday, said, "In order to run the commission independently and work faster and better, it is necessary to have the commission self-governed."The commission has recommended bringing amendment to section 3(2) of the ACC Act 2004, which declares it as independent and impartial. ACC sources said the Cabinet Division has already initiated moves regarding the proposal. -The daily Star, October 24.

Rokon-Ud-Doula withdrawn from magistracy
Magistrate Rokon-Ud-Doula, who shot to fame leading anti-adulteration drives in the capital, was withdrawn from the magistracy apparently for his recent broadside against the separation of judiciary slated for November 1. The Supreme Court (SC) gave its consent to the government move to remove him from the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM). Earlier, the establishment ministry had sought the apex court's permission. Talking to The Daily Star last night, Supreme Court Registrar Iktedar Ahmed said the ministry did not mention any reason for the withdrawal. Rokon-Ud-Doula will remain a magistrate until further notification. Addressing a seminar in the city Sunday, Rokon demanded that the separation be deferred till 2021 to remove “inequality” between executive magistrates and judicial magistrates and put in place adequate infrastructure and logistics support. Saying that he might even be arrested for making such statements, he called on the executive officials to go on a work stoppage from November 1. -The Daily Star, October 24.

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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