Law Minister Anisul Huq
The ‘Bangladesh Supreme Court Judges (Leave, Pension and Privileges) Bill, 2023’ was placed in Parliament on Monday with a provision of a monthly special allowance of Tk 70,000 for a retired chief justice. Law minister Anisul Huq moved the Bill and it was passed by voice vote. As per the Bill, a “Chief Justice” means the Chief Justice of Bangladesh while “Judge” means a Judge of Appellate Division and High Court Division of the Supreme Court and includes the Chief Justice and Additional Judges. The special allowance will be given to meet expenses such as paying for domestic help, car driver, house guard and maintenance of office-cum-residence. The draft law was brought to formulate a law repealing an ordinance of the military regime as per a judgment of the High Court. The proposed law will replace the Supreme Court Judges (Leave, Pension and Privileges) Ordinance, 1982. It says the leave granted to a judge may, at his option, be either- leave on full salary; or leave on half salary; or leave partly on full salary and partly on half salary. For the purpose of this part, any period of leave on full salary shall be reckoned as double the period of leave on half salary. The aggregate amount of leave granted to a judge during the whole period of service as such shall not exceed, in terms of leave on half salary, 36 months. Read more: JS passes Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation Bill, 2022 The period of leave granted at any one time shall not exceed, in the case of leave on full salary. The monthly rate of leave salary payable to a judge while on leave on full salary shall be equal to the monthly rate of his salary. The monthly rate of leave salary payable to a Judge while on leave on half salary shall be equal to half the monthly rate of his salary. A judge shall be entitled to draw his leave salary in Bangladeshi currency only. A judge shall, on his retirement, resignation or removal, be paid a pension in accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance if he or she has- completed not less than five years of service for pension and attained the retiring age; or completed not less than ten years of service for pension and, before attaining the retiring age, resigned; or completed not less than five years of service for pension and, before attaining the retiring age, either resigned, his resignation having been medically certified to be necessitated by ill health, or been removed for physical or mental incapacity. The chief justice will get Tk 4.50 lakh as injury gratuity and Tk 1.50 lakh for annual pension while the amount for both is Tk 4.50 and Tk 1.40 lakh respectively for justice or additional justice. Read more: 21st Parliament session to continue till Feb 9 The chief justice will get Tk 5 lakh as family gratuity and Tk 1.40 lakh for annual pension while the amount for both is Tk 4 lakh and Tk 1.20 lakh respectively for justice or additional justice. The children of justices will get Tk 20,000 if the mother is not alive while Tk 12,000 if the mother is alive.
BERC (amendment) Ordinance placed in JS allowing adjustment of gas, electricity prices without public hearing
The “Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (amendment) Ordinance, 2022” was placed in Parliament on Thursday which paved the way for the government to adjust the prices of gas and electricity without public hearing. Law Minister Anisul Huq placed the ordinance in the House. President Abdul Hamid promulgated the ordinance on December 1 last year amending the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Act-2003. The law ministry issued a gazette on December 1 announcing the amendment that allows government to adjust the prices of gas and electricity. Previously, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources used to adjust the prices of fuel including diesel, octane, kerosene and petrol without any public hearing. Where, the prices of gas and electricity were adjusted by the BERC through public hearings. Read more: JS passes Bangladesh Patents Bill, 2022 With the amendment of the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) Act-2003, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources will not be required to hold a hearing to decide new prices for gas and electricity. The BERC is an autonomous body which was established based on the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Act 2003, aiming at improving power and energy infrastructure in Bangladesh. The law was amended thrice in the past. The Cabinet on November 28 approved an amendment to the BERC Ordinance 2022 to empower the government to set fuel tariff on its own under special circumstances without waiting for the commission’s public hearing and decision. Read more: JS passes Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation Bill, 2022
Law Minister Anisul Huq has said the government remains vigilant to stop any misuse or abuse of the Digital Security Act (DSA), noting that some abuses are reported while implementing any new law in any country in the world. The issue of amendment to the law comes when there are abuses and the government is trying to plug in the places where there is scope of abuse and misuse, he said. "If there is a necessity for any amendment, we will do that," said the Law Minister. He, however, said bringing amendments to any law is a lengthy process and the government may go for shortening the process by introducing relevant rules. The Law Minister was speaking at a debate on DSA, moderated by Editors Guild President and Editor-in-Chief of Ekattor Television Mozammel Babu on Saturday. Minister Huq said a perception regarding the DSA has been created and the government is aware of it. He said the government is listening to all and trying to address the issues. “We are trying to solve the problem. Our ears are not closed.” After identifying certain cases of misuse and abuse through the DSA in 2019, the Law Minister said he tried to find out other countries where such laws exist and also contacted the Office of the UN Human Rights Commission. "We are still discussing the good practices,” he said, adding that he even sat with the Home Minister and decided that the journalists will not be arrested right away. The Law Minister said when a complaint is lodged, a cell will decide whether or not there is prima facie proof that an offence has been made under the law. The Law Minister referred to the law regarding punishment for making any kind of propaganda or campaign against liberation war, spirit of Liberation War, Father of the Nation, national anthem or national flag. “Was it necessary to protect? Yes, it was necessary,” he said, adding that it hurts him when someone says 30 lakh people did not sacrifice their lives during the Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971. “It (such distortion of settled history) does not just bring tears in my eyes, it seems to me that someone hit on my chest,” he added. The Law Minister also questioned those who made room for war criminals like Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid in the cabinet. Human rights activist advocate ZI Khan Panna, cultural personality Nasiruddin Yousuff Bachchu, Regional Director for ARTICLE 19 South Asia and Bangladesh Faruq Faisel, filmmaker Kamar Ahmad Simon, Prothom Alo joint editor Sohrab Hassan and journalist Syed Ishtiaque Reza, among others, spoke at the discussion.
Law Minister Anisul Huq on Tuesday said cases under the Digital Security Act (DSA) are decreasing in the country due to the government initiative. The law enforcers are not arresting the accused in a hurry and they are also not talking about the cases under DSA directly. Cases under the DSA are sent to the special cell, he said. Also read: Govt enacted DSA to prevent cybercrime: Law Minister Anisul Huq was speaking at a dialogue on the ‘Mass Media Employees Act, Digital Security Act, and Data Protection Act’ organised by Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum (BSRF) at the Secretariat media centre. In response to a question about the progress in the government’s assurance to amend the much-criticised DSA, the minister said, “We held a meeting with the United Nations High-Commission for Human Rights Office in 2019 in Geneva through the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh. In the meeting, we have taken a decision to form two separate committees. The committees will recommend to us the best practices in the world and we will accept those which will fit Bangladesh. We have already formed a committee led by the legislative secretary.” This committee sat in a meeting and will meet once again very soon, he added. Claiming that DSA is not aimed at obstructing free journalism in the country, Anisul said, “Technology has improved in the country. We have to face the disadvantages of technology. DSA has been formed to face this challenge. A committee has been working to stop the misuses of the act and misuses will surely be stopped in the future.” “We want to assure all that Digital Security Act has been made to combat the cybercrimes. The government of Sheikh Hasina will not form any kinds of law which will bar freedom of the press,” he asserted. About the proposed Data Protection Act, Anisul said, he was told of its advantages and disadvantages by a team of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry informed. He said he discussed the issue with the state minister for ICT. The state minister assured that the proposal will be reviewed. Also read: US envoy discusses DSA with law minister Anisul defended the government move to enact a law for the mass media employees. He said journalists may demand corrections in the proposed law instead of cancelling it. BSRF president Tapan Biswas presided over the dialogue while its general secretary Masudul Haque moderated it.
Terming the imposition of human rights-related sanctions on Rab personnel unfortunate, Law Minister Anisul Huq on Sunday said the US authorities issued the sanctions without leaving any scope for self-defence. “Those who believe in democracy and the rule of law have a responsibility and they should follow the due procedure and if any action is taken against any party then they must get the chance of self-defence. It’s truly unfortunate that the US imposed the sanctions without leaving any scope for self-defense,” he said. The Law Minister came up with the remarks while talking to reporters after inaugurating the 26th Judicial Administration Training Course of Judges at Bangladesh Judicial Administration Training Institute in the city. “The allegations which have been brought against RAB aren’t correct. Those’re imaginary and no extrajudicial killing has taken place in Bangladesh,” he said. Read: 'Will prove Zia's involvement in Bangabandhu killing': Minister The United States on Friday imposed human rights-related sanctions on Benzir Ahmed, current Inspector General of the Bangladesh Police and former Director-General of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and six other individuals on the occasion of International Human Rights Day. The US Department of State announced visa restrictions on Benazir Ahmed, which it says, due to his “involvement in gross violations of human rights” making him ineligible for entry into the United States. Also read: US imposes sanctions on RAB, 7 individuals RAB as an entity, Benzir Ahmed, and six other officials were designated by the Department of the Treasury under the Global Magnitsky sanctions programme in connection with serious human rights abuse, said the US Department of State. Regarding Khaleda’s plea seeking permission to go abroad for treatment, the Minister said, “Please wait and you will soon get the answer.”
Law Minister Anisul Huq on Friday said that law will move at its own pace and humanity cannot be earned through movements. The minister made the remark on BNP's demand to send its chairperson Khaleda Zia abroad for treatment at a charity program held by Akhaura municipality Awami League. He said, “The prime minister in March last year asked me to look into the matter. Due to her interest Khaleda Zia is now living at her residence after her punishment was suspended.” Read:Govt looking into legal options to let Khaleda go abroad: Law Minister He said there is no restriction for her to take treatment in the hospital in Dhaka. “We are also looking into the demand of BNP to send her abroad”, he said. But there is no scope to give two different decisions for the appeal, he said. The minister also recalled Khaleda’s behavior towards the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in different times. He said, “When Khaleda's son died, the prime minister went to her house to offer condolences but the gate was closed over her face." Read: Khaleda free, not in govt custody: Law Minister Meanwhile, in another programme of Upazila Awami League at Kasba , the minister said, “BNP does not have the power to do politics with the people but it has the power to sabotage.” He told members of AL at Kasba that Awami League should be strong organisationally. “You have to be ready from now on to prevent BNP's sabotage.”
Law Minister Anisul Huq on Sunday said BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia is now free as she is not in government custody for sure. “She [Khaleda] is definitely free. She’s not obviously in our custody or in government custody. Staying here, she can definitely receive treatment anywhere as she wishes, and she’s doing so,” he told Parliament. The Law Minister said this in parliament replying to a remark made by BNP MP Rumeen Farhana who claimed in the House that “Khaleda Zia still remains in government custody.” Read: People won’t tolerate if Khaleda dies “without treatment”: BNP “If anything happens to the leader, the government will have to bear the full responsibility as she has been in government custody for the last three years. She’s still in government custody,” said Rumeen. She said the Law Minister earlier argued that Khaleda Zia would have to go back to jail for going abroad as there is no scope to reconsider a decided case in the same provision (section 401) of the Criminal Code of Procedures. Rumeen said, “But there’s nothing like this in section 401 of the Criminal Code of Procedures. The provision gives the government the unlimited authority to take any decision in this regard.”
Law Minister Anisul Huq on Thursday said there is no legal scope in the present situation to allow ailing BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to go abroad for medical treatment. “There’s no scope in the law. They can rebuke me as much as they wish but it doesn’t matter to me… I’ll follow the law,” he said. The law minister made the remark as a demand was placed by BNP MP Gulam Mohammad Siraj (Bogura-6) in Parliament on point-of-order for allowing Khaleda Zia to go abroad for medical treatment. Read: Khaleda fighting for life: Fakhrul Pointing at Khaleda Zia, Anisul Huq said a convicted person was released suspending her sentence as per section 401 of the Criminal Code of Procedure (CrPC) but there is no provision to reconsider an already disposed appeal in the section. The minister said Khaleda Zia is getting treatment properly as per their statements. “It is up to them whether they’re happy or not with the treatment,” he added. He said the BNP leaders argued that Khaleda Zia can be released for receiving treatment abroad on humanitarian grounds and raised some previous instances in this regard saying that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was allowed to go abroad in 2007-2008 despite having lawsuits against her. “But it’s not true as the Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) has never been convicted in any case,” he added.
Sangsad Bhaban, Jun 30 (UNB) - The government is working to amend the existing Evidence Act, seeking to remove the provision to make 'negative' remarks on the character of any rape victim in a rape case. Law Minister Anisul Huq on Wednesday said this while responding to opposition MPs’ various proposals on the cut-motion during the passage of the proposed national budget for 2021-22. Read:Much-talked-about changes to rape law passed in parliament “According to Section 155 of the Evidence Act, there’s a sub-section to talk about the character of the victim in a rape case. That will be amended," he said. The minister hoped that a Bill will be placed in the next session of parliament likely to be held in September with necessary amendment to the existing Evidence Act. According to the Section 155 (4) of the Evidence Act, 1872 which provides that when a man is prosecuted for rape, it may be shown that the complainant was of immoral character, therefore raising the question of the victim's character as a justification of rape. This has been criticised heavily for not upholding equality and special protection for women as guaranteed by the Constitution of Bangladesh itself. Allegations of rape are usually filed under the Women and Child Repression Prevention Act. In November last, the government amended the Women and Child Repression Prevention Act. The word 'rape' was replaced by the word 'rape victim' through the amendment. In addition, the provision of maximum punishment for the crime of rape was included in the law. Read: 'Go to the gallows if you rape'; Cabinet approves draft law The law minister also said the use of digital and information technology will be added to the Evidence Act. He said a process is underway to update the Evidence Act.
The Civil Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed in Parliament on Wednesday, seeking to raise the pecuniary jurisdiction of lower court judges for disposing of civil cases.