Saturday, January 27, 2007

Political and Trade Union activities banned by Government under the Emergency Powers Ordinance 2007

The Government has banned political and trade union activities and restricted provocative news, including talk show, in print and electronic media under the Emergency Powers Rules 2007. The ban has been made effective from January 12, 2007 through a gazette notification on the Emergency Powers Rules 2007 under the Emergency Powers Ordinance 2007. The gazette notification was made public last night.

The government has restricted processions, demonstrations, hartals, strikes and lockouts across the country to ensure security of the state and people, and maintain discipline in public life and has also banned student-teacher politics and politics by government employees and professional bodies. In case of violation of the restrictions, the offenders will have to suffer a maximum of five years or a minimum of two years rigorous imprisonment along with fines. But rallies, processions and functions relating to religious, social and state affairs are exempted from the restrictions.

Under the notification, the government can ban any meeting, procession, siege, demonstration, speech, statement, any harmful news or information in the interest of government, state or public security and peace. The government can also restrict any publication or transmission of any anti-government news, editorial, post editorial, article, feature, cartoon, talk show or discussion in print or electronic media and any mass media, including the internet. Wall writing has also been banned as long as the state of emergency will remain in force. The government will be able to proscribe any newspaper, book, document, printing press or equipment of electronic media if any news or information is published or propagated violating the government order or restrictions.

The restriction has also been put on any provocative remarks or activities against the government and its programmes, drawing, cartoon or the effigy of an individual with ulterior political motive. The government will have the right to ask any individual to submit information or material to a person or authority designated by the rules for examining those. If any individual does not submit the information or the material or intentionally supply false and incorrect ones, the individual will have to suffer a maximum of five years or a minimum of two years' RI and fines. Those who will try to violate the rules and assist or provoke to violate the rules of the emergency will be considered as the violator.

If any violator of the rules is identified as statutory organisation or farm, director, owner, partner, manager, secretary or any other officer or agent will be considered as the violator unless he or she can prove that they have tried enough to refrain from violating the rules. Whatever the existing laws and rules contain, all offences under the emergency rules will be justified by speedy trial court, speedy trial tribunal, metropolitan magistrate and first class magistrate. The offences under this rule will be considered as cognizable, non-compoundable and non-bailable.

If anyone resents any verdict of the courts, he or she can appeal to the proper court against the verdict within 30 days from the date of handing down the particular verdict. But the time to be spent to get the certified copy will be excluded from the 30-day period. On post, radio, telegram, telex, fax and telephone services, the rules of emergency said the government can empower officers and authorities to halt, delay any disbursement of messages or news.

In case of any serious offence, the government will have the right to transfer an under trial case at any stage to a speedy trial tribunal. But the trial must be held as per the provisions of the Speedy Trial Tribunal Act 2002. Investigation, trial and other related activities on the offences that cause law and order situation will be under the speedy trial court only. Any designated police official or any member of the law enforcement agencies will be able to enforce or take any necessary steps to implement any order under the emergency rules. Any individual can be brought to preventive detention under the Special Powers Act 1974 if deemed that the individual might create an offence under the emergency rules.