Legal Times



School banking acts can transact in ‘Shikkha Bima’

Transactions involving the 'Bangabandhu Education Insurance' can be made through school banking accounts from now on, Bangladesh Bank-BB has said in a circular on September 19. The insurance regulator -- Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority-IDRA -- has recently launched the 'Bangabandhu Shikkha Bima' or Bangabandhu Education Insurance to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Presently, the state-owned life insurer Jiban Bima Corporation is piloting the insurance product under the supervision of IDRA. After the completion of the pilot scheme, all insurance companies might launch the product. The one-time premium for the insurance is Tk 85 and the students covered under it will get Tk 500 every month until they turn 17 if their guardians die. The central bank circular, issued by its Financial Inclusion Department and signed by General Manager Md. Ruhul Amin, said payment of premium and compensation may be made through school banking accounts of the students concerned. The banks, however, cannot charge any fees for the service, according to the circular. The circular also said students should be encouraged to open school banking accounts. As of December last year, students deposited Tk 19.50 billion in their accounts, up by 20 per cent from a year earlier. The number of accounts under school banking rose by 10 per cent to 2.69 million in 2020. The central bank introduced school banking in 2010 as a part of its efforts to widen financial inclusion through encouraging students' on the savings. So far, 55 banks have rolled out school banking operations, allowing students aged 11 years to 17 years to open accounts.

HCD asks ACC to probe Rajarbagh Pir Dillur

The High Court Division-HCD has ordered the Anti Corruption Commission to investigate the assets and bank accounts of Rajarbagh Darbar Sharif and its religious leader or Pir Dillur Rahman. It also directed the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime-CTTC unit of police to look into Dillur and his followers for possible links to militancy. The panel of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the orders along with a set of directives after hearing on a writ petition filed by eight people on September 19. The Court has asked both the ACC and police to report back on the matter in 60 days. The petitioners alleged that the followers of Dillur harassed them by filing numerous cases of human trafficking and other criminal charges against them where the plaintiffs could not be identified. The petitioners are Md Abdul Quader, Mahbubur Rahman Khokon, Fazlul Karim, Joynal Abedin, Md Alauddin, Zinnat Ali, Ayubur Hasan Shamim, Nazma Aktar and Nargis Aktar. The Criminal Investigation Department-CID of police has been tasked with identifying the plaintiffs of the cases against the petitioners and submit a report within 60 days. The Court has also asked the authorities concerned to explain why legal action should not be taken against those who filed the cases with an aim to harass people. The Home Secretary, Inspector General of Police, Additional IGP of Special Branch, CID, the Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Detective Branch Joint Commissioner, ACC chairman, Dillur and the plaintiffs of the cases in question have been given 20 days to respond. Earlier, the Court expressed surprise at Dillur’s activities after seeing a CID probe report on Sept 6. The police made the report after Ekramul Ahsan Kanchon, a resident of Shantibagh, challenged the cases filed against him on Dillur’s orders. It was discovered that people who could not be identified have filed a total of 49 cases including those alleging rape, sexual harassment, acid violence and human trafficking against Ekramul. It was alleged that associates of Pir Dillur filed these cases as he refused to transfer his land to the Rajarbagh Darbar Sharif. The CID found Dillur’s hand behind the cases. It also cited an investigation by the National Human Rights Commission to back its claim.

Include Bangabandhu's Mar 7 speech in textbooks: HCD

The High Court Division-HCD, has directed the Government to include Bangabandhu's March 7 speech in the school, college, and university textbooks so that the young generation can learn about the significance of the historic oration. The HCD, on September 8, asked the Government to include the speech, through the involvement of an expert committee. The expert committee will determine how Bangabandhu's March 7 speech will be included in the textbooks, Deputy Attorney General Abdullah-Al-Mahmud Bashar told the BDLT. The HCD also asked the Government to expedite the construction of the monument on Bangabandhu delivering the March 7 speech at Suhrawardy Udyan. The HCD Bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice Shahed Nuruddin delivered the verdict after holding a hearing on the petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Bashir Ahmed in November 2017, seeking necessary directives in this regard. During the hearing, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin told the Court that the Government will follow the directives on this matter. On February 25, 2020, the HCD had directed the Government to declare March 7 as "National Historic Day" and issue a gazette notification in this regard.

Graft suspects have right to travel abroad: HCD

The High Court Division-HCD has observed that restricting or interfering with citizen's free movement because of "arbitrary or whimsical desires" of the Government or state authorities is unconstitutional. The HCD Bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman made this observation in the 12-page full text of one of its verdicts, which was released on April 3. Following a writ petition, the HCD Bench had delivered this verdict on March 16 saying that a specific law or rules need to be formulated soon regarding imposition of embargo on graft suspects or an accused leaving the country. “There are no specific laws or rules banning people against whom enquiries or investigations are running in connection with corruption allegations or cases from leaving the country, and they have the right to free movement according to the constitution”, the Court had said on March 16. A citizen's liberty of movement involves his or her personal independence, which is universal, the HCD said in the full-text verdict. If such a liberty has to be restricted, it has to be done within the prescribed rule or procedure of the relevant law, which means that no one should be condemned unheard before any action is taken against him or her, the HCD Bench said in the full text of the verdict. "We have no hesitation in saying that controlling and restricting citizens' constitutional right to movement by any individual or authorities on whimsical desire is unconstitutional," read the verdict. The HCD Bench observed, "… it has become indispensable to formulate necessary laws or rules in order to restrain or control the movement of people involved in enquiries or investigations related to corruption or money laundering cases…Provisions of assigning reasons for restricting the suspects from leaving the county and scope for placing their [aggrieved persons] statements or objections have to be included in the law or rules.” The full verdict reads, "Imposing such embargo on a person for an indefinite period is an unconstitutional and antihuman measure and therefore, specifying a time limit to this effect will be justified." The HCD Bench also observed that the competent Courts concerned will have the full jurisdiction to pass necessary orders on whether such people against whom inquiries or investigations are underway can go abroad until a law is enacted or rules are framed to this effect. Later, the ACC, on March 21, filed a petition with the Appellate Division seeking stay on the HCD verdict. The stay petition is pending with the apex Court. The HCD Bench had come up with the judgment following a writ petition filed by one Ataur Rahman from Narsingdi challenging the Anti-Corruption Commission-ACC's action to restrain him from going abroad as a graft allegation against him was being inquired. 

Trial of cases under DSA: Cyber Tribunals set up in 8 divisions

The Government has set up Cyber Tribunals in all eight Divisions of the country in order to hold trials of cybercrimes related cases including those filed under the Digital Security Act. Cases are filed under this law mainly for spreading rumours, creating confusion, tarnishing image, defamation and deteriorating law and order situation by using online platforms. Earlier, there was one cyber tribunal in Dhaka for trying cases filed under the Information and Communication Technology Act. The Law Ministry issued a gazette notification on April 4 to this effect saying that Cyber Tribunals have been formed under the Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006. The names of the eight Tribunals are--Cyber Tribunal, Dhaka; Cyber Tribunal, Chattogram; Cyber Tribunal, Rajshahi; Cyber Tribunal, Khulna; Cyber Tribunal, Barishal; Cyber Tribunal, Sylhet; Cyber Tribunal, Rangpur and Cyber Tribunal, Mymensingh. The notification has determined the local jurisdiction of Cyber Tribunal, Dhaka, which are the districts of Dhaka, Narsingdi, Gazipur, Shariatpur, Narayananj, Tangail, Kishoreganj, Manikganj, Munshiganj, Rajbari, Madaripur, Faridpur and Gopalganj. The cases filed in the districts other than the above mentioned 13 districts will be transferred from the Cyber Tribunal, Dhaka to other Cyber Tribunals concerned in 30 days, according to the gazette notification. Regarding the Tribunals, Law Minister Anisul Huq told the BDLT that his ministry has increased the number of Cyber Tribunals in a bid to reduce backlogs of cybercrimes related cases filed under the Digital Security Act, through their quick disposals. Replying to a question, the law minister said the Government is working to make sure that nobody will be arrested in cases filed under the Digital Security Act without prior inquiry. These Cyber Tribunals will hold trials of the cases filed under the Digital Security Act, 2018 for spreading rumour, creating confusion, tarnishing image, irritating and defamation and deteriorating law and order situation through using online platforms. Sources at the Law Ministry said the Government has already appointed competent Judges for conducting the cyber tribunals in eight Divisions.

BDLT holds discusion on Alternative Dispute Resolution

Bangladesh Legal Times-BDLT on 29th of April, 2017 organised a discussion on Alternative Dispute Resolution-ADR and its perspective and challenges in Bangladesh at the auditorium of London School of Legal Studies-South in the city. The Hon’ble Justice of the High Court Division-HCD of the Supreme Court Mr. Justice Sayed Refaat Ahmed was present and graced the occasion as the key-note Speaker. While discussing the key-note paper Mr. Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed focused on various possible aspects of ADR and also the role of lawyers, judges and other concerned bodies involved with the ADR. He in his speech underscored the need for ADR in company matters keeping in view the perspectives of Companies Act. Mr. Justice Refaat Ahmed also said that ADR has to be imposed mandatorily in some legal proceeding to stop multiplicity of suits. “For this a separate and distinct legislation could have been passed by the Parliament,” he suggested. He opined that to turn ADR more fruitful, awareness has to be created among the common people and measures to be taken for the litigants for a speedy and timely resolution through ADR. Mr. Ahmed also expressed deep concern regarding the reluctance expressed by the lower Court judges in disposing of a case through ADR especially in Artha Rin matters and their sentiment discouraging disposal of such cases through the system of ADR. Concluding his speech the HCD Judge stressed the need for amending of laws relating to ADR and arbitration, specially existing Arbitration Act to make it more efficacious. He said he is in favour of bringing changes in Section 22 of the Arbitration Act and proposed to revisit Section 3 of the same as well. The discussion was also participated among others by eminent lawyers, economists, head of Legal of the City Bank, and head of the LCLS. Agreeing with views expressed by Mr. Ahmed, the speakers at the seminar underlined the need for training programme for the lawyers as well as judges also to make them expert in disposing of the cases through ADR. At the end of the occasion, there was a question-answer hour which shed light upon the various aspects of ADR. The panel discussants are - Barrister Mizan Sayeed, Barrister Shafayat Ullah, Barrister Md. Sameer Sattar, Barrister Omar H. Khan, Barrister Asif Bin Anwar, Barrister Khaled Hamid Chowdhury, and eminent economist Dr. Jamaluddin Ahmed. While giving Vote of Thanks the CEO of Banglar Bani Film Media & Publications.  S. Shafquat Kader said, the efforts of BDLT will continue to promote the practice of ADR in Bangladesh.

Biswajit murder case paper book ready

The authorities concerned of the High Court Division-HCD have prepared the paper book of sensational Biswajit Das murder case. Sabbir Faiz, Additional Registrar (Admin) of the HCD, told reporters that the paper book of the case has been prepared on priority basis under instruction from Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha so that the case proceedings can be completed quickly. A High Court Division Bench is likely to start the hearing on the separate appeals filed by both the jail authority and convicts challenging the lower Court verdict that sentenced eight Bangladesh Chattra League-BCL activists to death and 13 others to life imprisonment in connection with Biswajit Das murder. Now, the Chief Justice will assign a HCD Bench to hold the hearing on the death reference. The hearing on the death reference will start quickly after the Chief Justice sends it to a HCD Bench for disposal, Faiz added.  Sabbir Faiz also said the convicts of the case have filed 14 appeals with the HCD challenging the lower court verdict against them in the case. On December 18, 2013, a Dhaka Court sentenced eight BCL activists to death and 13 others to life imprisonment for killing tailor Biswajit Das. Biswajit Das, 24, was hacked to death in public on his way to his tailoring shop at Shakharibazar in Old Dhaka during the opposition's countrywide road-blockade programme on December 9, 2012. Mistaking him for a blockader, BCL activists of Jagannath University unit swooped on him in front of Bahadur Shah Park and hacked him with machetes and beat him with iron rods and hockey sticks. Police pressed charges against the 21 accused on March 5, 2013 and the tribunal framed charges against them on June 2 of that year. Of the convict, eight are now in jail while 13 others are on the run.

Cabinet clears 15 draft laws, two policies

The Cabinet in February approved a total of 15 different draft laws and two policies, namely, Jubo Niti (Youth Policy), 2017 and the Textiles Policy 2017.  The 15 draft laws are Marine Fisheries Bill 2017, Sheikh Hasina National Youth Development Institute Bill 2017, Bangladesh Chartered Accountants Bill 2017, Trade Organisations Bill 2017, Ground Water Management for Agriculture Bill 2017, the Chartered Accountants Bill 2017, Civil Aviation Bill 2017, the Khulna Development Authority Bill 2017,   Bangladesh Rice Research Institute Bill 2017, the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission Bill 2017, the Animal Welfare Bill 2016, the Bangladesh Employees Welfare Board (Amendment) Bill 2017, the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre Bill 2017 and the Child (Amendment) Bill 2017. The Cabinet also ratified two conventions - International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM), 2004, and International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS), 2001.

Housing Minister gets bail after surrender

A Chittagong Court on Feb 7 granted bail to Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain in a corruption case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission-ACC. Chittagong Metropolitan Session Judge Md Shahinur passed the order. Earlier, the Minister surrendered before the Court following a Court order and sought bail. On November 25, 2007, the ACC filed the case against Mosharraf on charge of amassing Tk.3 crore wealth and concealing the information. Following a writ petition, the High Court Division on November 20, 2012 quashed the proceedings of the case against Mosharraf. Following an appeal, on May 08, 2016, the Appellate Division-AD of the Supreme Court cleared the way for the ACC to resume investigation into the corruption case against the Housing Minister. Later, the HCD asked the Minister to surrender before the lower Court.

Eight HCD Judges take oath

Eight newly appointed High Court Division-HCD Judges took oath on February 12 at Supreme Court Judges’ Lounge. Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha administered the oath, while Supreme Court Registrar General Syed Aminul Islam conducted the oath taking ceremony in presence of Judges of both the Divisions of the apex Court. The eight Judges are: Justice S M Mozibur Rahman, Justice Amir Hossain, Justice Khizir Ahmed Choudhury, Justice Razik-Al-Jalil, Justice Bhishmadev Chakrabortty, Justice Md Iqbal Kabir, Justice Md Salim and Justice Md Shohrowardi. President Abdul Hamid, in consultation with Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, appointed the eight additional Judges of the High Court Division as Judges of the same Division. Law and Justice Division issued a gazette notification in this regard on February 7.