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Thursday, July 16, 2009

HRCBM's Seminar: Restoration of '72 constitution depends on Appellate Division verdict: Barrister Shafiq


HRCBM's seminar: Vested Property Act & Debottor Property: The Constitutional Rights of Bangladesh Minorities


Picture (courtesy: HRCBM-Bangladesh): Above pictures show sections of HRCBM's seminar that was held at National Press Club, dhaka on July 16th, 2009.

BSS report on HRCBM's Seminar:
Restoration of '72 constitution depends on Appellate Division verdict: Barrister Shafiq


DHAKA, Bangladesh, July 16 (BSS) - Restoration of the constitution of 1972 depends on the verdict of the Appellate Division of theSupreme Court on an appeal filed by the BNP secretary general against the High Court order in 2005.Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister BarristerShafiq Ahmed today said this while addressing a seminar in thecity.
The High Court in an order in 2005 nullified fifth amendmentsof the constitution, which ratified the proclamation of themartial law as well as all acts of the non-elected governmentsafter 1975.The law minister said the government is making its sincereefforts for restoration of the 1972 constitution to consolidatethe democracy and establish equal rights of every citizen.
"We don't want to use our brute majority to amend theconstitution, rather we are waiting for the verdict of theAppellate Division," he said adding, "we hope that the AppellateDivision will give us a decision which will help restore the 1972constitution".
Sampriti Mancha and Human Rights Congress for BangladeshMinorities (HRCBM) arranged the seminar on "Vested Property Actand Debottar Property: Constitutional and Human Rights of Minorities at Jatiya Press Club.Barrister Shafiq said a civilian violating the constitutionfirst introduced the martial law in the country after brutal killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh MujiburRahman.Later, Ziaur Rahman in connivance with the then Chief JusticeASM Sayem entirely destroyed the spirit of the secularconstitution established through immense sacrifices of the peopleof the country, he added.
The law minister ruled out the statement of a section ofpoliticians that the 1972 constitution is against Islam as one ofthe four pillars of the constitution is 'secularism'.
"Islam itself is a secular religion as it acknowledges rights of every citizen irrespective of their religious faith, culture, creed and caste," the minister said.
The law minister said the return of the vested property became a difficult issue as many property went in disposition forvarious reasons including negligence of the government pleadersover the years.
He invited a common recommendation from the members of the Hindu community to enact personal inheritance and marriageregistration laws to establish rights of daughters on paternalproperty as well as rights of Hindu women as wives.Noted economist Professor Abul Barakat, president of Bangladesh Mohila Parishad Ayesha Khanam, journalist Syed Abul Maqsud and chief executive of PRIP Trust Aroma Dutta took part inthe discussion while Professor Ajoy Roy was in the chair.
Secretary General of the HRCBM and ex-additional secretaryRabindranath Tribedi in his keynote paper urged the governmentfor constituting a minority commission like 'Justice RajendraSachar Commission' in India for analysing the socio-economicstatus of the Hindus in Bangladesh.
He also called for taking immediate steps for returning theall vested property to the legal owners or their inheritors asper the court order and constituting a fact finding committeecomprising the members of the Hindu religious organizations toreview the records of the Debattar property.
Prof Abul Barakat termed the vested property act as an'uncivilized law' saying the law must be repealed to establish asecular, progressive, liberal democratic and welfare state asstipulated in the Vision 2021 of the present government.
Around 3.5 lakh bighas of land were shown as the vestedproperty even after enactment of the "Vested Property Return Act2001, he said adding that 'we now need immediate decision todispose of the matter.
He urged the government not to depend on only bureaucracy, rather including sufferers, human rights activities, notedlawyers and citizens in the process settle the matter.