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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: 180
July 31, 2010

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Military takeover never again
The Supreme Court in its judgment on the fifth amendment to the constitution paved the way for preventing military takeover in future and restoring secular spirit of the original constitution except for a few changes. Islam, however, shall remain the state religion as per the eighth amendment, which is not covered by the judgment. The SC released the full text (184 pages) of its judgment on July 27, around six months after it upheld the High Court verdict declaring illegal the fifth amendment. The fifth amendment had legitimised the governments and military rule since killing of then president Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975, to April 9, 1979. The governments during the period were led by Khandker Mushtaque Ahmed, Abu Sadaat Mohammad Sayem and Major General Ziaur Rahman.
- The Daily Star, July 29, 2010.

Stop advertisement, sale of plots: HC
The High Court has directed the government to take effective steps to stop earth filling and sale of plots in unauthorised private housing projects, and advertisements on those. The court also directed the government to show cause as to why its failure to stop the illegal activities of private housing companies shall not be declared to be against public interest. An HC bench comprised of Justice Wahab Miah and Justice Kazi Rezaul Hoque issued a rule with the directives following a writ petition filed by five environmental and urban planner groups on July 27. The petitioners include Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Ain O Salish Kendro, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, Institute of Architects Bangladesh and Poribesh Bachao Andolon. - The Daily Star, July 29, 2010.

Same fate likely for 7th amendment
The seventh amendment to the constitution, which legitimises HM Ershad's takeover of power and the acts under his military rule, could have the same fate as the fifth amendment, said Law Minister Shafique Ahmed. A writ petition, filed on January 24 this year, challenging the legality of the amendment is pending with the High Court. The HC has recently started hearing on the petition after it on April 5 issued a rule upon the government to explain as to why the seventh amendment to the constitution should not be adjudged illegal. It had come up with the rule after hearing the writ petition filed by Siddique Ahmed, convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by a martial law court in Chittagong in 1986. - The Daily Star, July 29, 2010.

Arrest order for 1971 genocide
The International Crimes Tribunal issued arrest warrants against already detained four Jamaat-e-Islami leaders on charges of committing genocide and crimes against humanity and peace during the Liberation War. "Warrants of arrest should be issued against these four people to ensure effective and proper investigation," Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq said allowing the prosecution prayer after submission of Chief Prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu. The four Jamaat leaders are Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojahid and senior assistant secretaries general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla. The tribunal directed to send copies of the arrest warrants to the detainees' addresses and also to their place of detention. - The Daily Star, July 27, 2010.

Shut down toxic poultry, fish feed factories
The High Court directed the government to shut down for three months those factories and business enterprises at Hazaribagh in the capital which are responsible for use of raw tannery waste as ingredients in producing poultry and fish feed. The court also issued a rule upon the government asking it to explain within three weeks why it should not be directed to take effective steps to stop use of tannery waste in poultry and fish feed. An HC bench comprised of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain came up with the directives in response to a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB). -The Daily Star, July 27, 2010.

BDR plans to set up more special courts
Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) authorities have planned to increase the number of special courts for quick disposal of the cases relating to the 2009 mutiny of the border guards. BDR Deputy Director General Brigadier General Obaidul Haque said this yesterday at a press conference at Pilkhana BDR Headquarters in the capital. Apart from the existing six special courts, sector wise special courts might be formed and each of the 12 sectors of the BDR might get a special court, he added. Earlier, six special courts were formed to try the case of February 25-26 BDR mutiny that left 74 people, including 57 army officers killed. The BDR deputy director general also said that the proceedings of 19 mutiny cases have so far been completed under the six special courts. - The Daily Star, July 26, 2010.

Rule on govt over money laundering act
The High Court (HC) issued a rule upon the government to explain within 10 days why the “Money Laundering Prevention Act 2009” should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional. An HC bench of Justice Mamnoon Rahman and Justice Syeda Afsar Jahan issued the rule following a writ petition filed as a public interest litigation by Zahirul Islam, a Supreme Court lawyer, challenging the law. The petitioner said the Money Laundering Prevention Act has been passed in parliament on February 24, 2009, with retrospective effect from April 15, 2008, which is against the rules of the country's constitution. A money bill was placed in parliament for passing the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2009, although money bill cannot be placed in parliament for such law as per the constitution, the petition said. - The Daily Star, July 26, 2010.

Dr Kamal for national consensus
Public opinion should be taken to incorporate their wishes in the constitution and to reach a national consensus on amending the sacred document, said Dr Kamal Hossain, one of the principal authors of the Constitution of Bangladesh. "It is not a matter to be done in haste. The 5th Amendment was done in a hurry under martial law ordinance which the people didn't want so the High Court in its historic verdict in 2005 cancelled it," he said in Chittagong. "We should be delighted that the court verdicts are ridding the constitution of controversial matters," he said. The eminent jurist was talking to journalists after attending an advocacy workshop on "Improving City Governance and Private Sector Development" at Hotel Agrabad. - The Daily Star, July 25, 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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