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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: 151
January 09, 2010

This week's issue:
Law opinion
Law Tribute
Laws For everyday life
Human Rights analysis
Human Rights monitor
Law lexicon
Law Amusements
Law Week

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Law week

Nat'l strategy be drawn up for oil, gas exploration
An appropriate national strategy should be devised for exploration of the country's mineral resources including oil and gas, barrister Abdur Razzaq told the High Court. He was placing arguments before the HC during the second day's hearing on the writ petition challenging the government move to sign production-sharing contracts (PSC) with foreign companies for gas and oil exploration in onshore blocks. The hearing is taking place following a government move in December last year to lift an HC injunction on onshore oil and gas exploration that led to suspension of all new PSC-based explorations since 2001. - The Daily Star, January 7, 2010.

Tender documents snatched, bidders beaten up
Criminals beat up officials of two companies, who went to bid for a tender at Dhaka Power Distribution Company office at Paribagh, and got away with their bid documents. Sources claimed the incident happened before inactive policemen. The Dhaka Power Distribution Company authorities cancelled the tender in an emergency meeting while official of Prime Power International, Abul Kashem, filed a general diary with Shahbagh Police Station in connection with the snatching. Police and sources said yesterday was the last day for biding for the work order worth Tk 65 lakh. The job was to repair and maintain transformers for one year. - The Daily Star, January 7, 2010.

Bismillah' and Islam as state religion to stay
The words “Bismillah-Ar-Rahman-Ar-Rahim” in the preamble to the constitution and declaration of Islam as state religion will remain as they are, since they reflect the beliefs of the people, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said. She was meeting 14-party leaders at her official residence Jamuna. It was the first such meeting since the Awami League-led grand alliance came to office in January last year. Hasina, also president of AL and chief of the 14-party combine, however said the spirit of the original constitution would be restored with inclusion of the High Court verdict that declared illegal the fifth amendment, said meeting sources. - The Daily Star, January 6, 2010.

HC hearing on writ against PSC starts
The High Court started hearing a 12-year-old writ petition that challenged the government move to sign production-sharing contracts (PSCs) with foreign gas and oil exploration companies. Former secretary Shah Abdul Hannan, columnist Sadek Khan, journalist Amanullah Kabir, and Prof Abdur Rob jointly filed the writ petition with the High Court (HC) as public interest litigation in 1998. Following the petition, the HC in 2001 issued an injunction on oil and gas exploration from the onshore blocks of the country. During the hearing petitioners' counsel barrister Abdur Razzaq told the court that the mineral resources couldn't be exported without appropriate national policy. - The Daily Star, January 6, 2010.

Religion-based parties face ban
Religion based politics will be banned if cancellation of the fifth amendment to the country's constitution is finalised by the Supreme Court (SC), said the law minister.

But he added that the words Bismillah-Ar-Rahman-Ar-Rahim in the preamble of the constitution and its declaration of Islam as the state religion will remain intact. He said Islam was made the state religion through the eighth amendment, and the High Court (HC) in its verdict did not say anything about the words Bismillah-Ar-Rahman-Ar-Rahim. He also said the words are a part of the constitution's preamble, not of its main body. - The Daily Star, January 5, 2010.

Khaleda's birthday case sent to CJ
A High Court bench sent a case to the chief justice for a decision regarding celebration of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's birth anniversary on August 15. The HC bench of Justice Md Momtajuddin Ahmed, however, rejected a petition filed by Khaleda apprehending that she will not get justice from the bench and sent the case to the chief justice for a decision. Advocate Md Sohrawardy had filed a case on August 20, 1997, with an assistant judge's court in Dhaka seeking an injunction so that Khaleda cannot celebrate her birth anniversary on August 15. Khaleda on September 16, 1999 filed a revision petition with the HC challenging the legality of the proceedings of the case filed by Sohrawardy. - The Daily Star, January 5, 2010.

Death warrants issued for 5
A Dhaka court issued death warrants against five convicted killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Judge Md Abdul Gafur of the District and Sessions Judge's Court issued the warrants. The court sent the death warrants in a red envelop to the senior jail super of Dhaka Central Jail directing him to take necessary steps to officially inform the confirmation of death penalty to the five convicts in the prison. Meantime, Inspector General (prisons) Brigadier General Ashraful Islam Khan told The Daily Star that he received the death warrants and the convicts were informed about the warrants. - The Daily Star, January 4, 2010.

Law Commission left out of focus
Although the law commission has not received any government response to its two-year scheme for legal and judicial reforms, it started working as per the plan. Commission Chairman Justice MA Rashid told The Daily Star that despite some shortcomings the commission has started working according to the work plan with a view to modernising the legal system and updating some old laws. The reconstituted body of the commission drew up the 15-point work plan on December 17 last year. The plan includes some reforms of the laws on the family affairs, the police, the prisons and the contempt of courts. - The Daily Star, January 4, 2010.

Contempt charge against govt
A contempt of court notice was served on the government yesterday for not constituting a national river protection commission according to the High Court verdict in order to protect and preserve the country's rivers. The notice also asked the government to constitute the commission consisting of experts concerned within next seven days. The judgment was delivered upon a public interest writ petition filed by the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB). - The Daily Star, January 3, 2010.

JS body caught in dilemma
The parliamentary standing committee on law, justice and parliamentary affairs might shelve its plan to look into the process of granting presidential mercy to a BNP leader convicted in a double murder case to avoid discussion on another clemency by the present government. Jhintu, a BNP leader, was sentenced to death 22 years ago in a double murder case but the other convict in the same case had been executed before Jhintu was pardoned by then president Iajuddin Ahmed. The presidential clemency at that time triggered widespread criticism. - The Daily Star, January 3, 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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