HC orders the disposal of any woman, child violence case in 180 days
Rumi Akter Polly of DOT
The High Court yesterday ordered seven directives, indulging the rape or murder cases disposal within 180 days of filing those with Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunals, reports UNB.
The order was issued by the HC bench consisted Justice Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman while hearing on three cases filed under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000.
Following the section 20 of the act, the court ordered to continue the cases every working day without any break after the hearing starts in the cases.
The court instructed a monitoring committee formation with the Additional District Magistrate, Additional Superintendent of Police (Admin), a representative of Civil Surgeon and related Public Prosecutor (PP) to ensure the presence and safety for the witnesses of the cases.
The court said that the committee will be coordinated by the PP concerned and it’ll submit monthly report about its activities to the Supreme Court, Home Ministry and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
It added that all the PPs will be included in the committee and the senior most one will coordinate the committee if there are multiple tribunals in a district it.
It said that if the state side fails to ensure the presence of the witnesses before the court on the scheduled date without any valid reason, the monitoring committee will be responsible.
The committee will monitor and take initiatives to ensure the notices summoning witnesses issuance as soon as possible.
It said that the tribunal may advise taking departmental action and stop the salary of the official witnesses like magistrate, police, doctors and other experts if they fail to appear before as witnesses without any significant reason.
The court thinks that it is essential to formulate a witness protection law and it expects the government will do it soon.
While hearing bail petitions in three cases filed with the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal, the HC bench declared the instructions.
On 8 July, a report of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad said the incidents of violence against women, specifically rape has increased notably in the recent months comparing the previous year, reports the daily star.
The report said that the last year from January to December, about 942 women were raped but within the last six months of this year (January to June), the number of rape incident reached to 731.
Last year the total numbers of violence against women were 3,918 but in this year’s halfway it came to 2,083 which is alarming, it added.
Mahila Parishad, a women’s’ rights organisation, prepared the report based on news published in 14 national dailies in the corresponding months, said the report that was disclosed at a press conference at the organisation’s office in the capital this afternoon.
The report found that 113 were gang-raped and 26 were murdered after the rape amid the rape victims.
Besides, 123 others were made victim of rape attempt and 70 were harassed sexually leastwise.
It also found more than 276 women were murdered in the last six months while 117 physically assaulted and 63 were abducted.
The organisation observed that the culture of impunity, which has been continuing in the country over the years, is the reason behind the rise of the rape incident.
“Only three to four percent of culprits have been punished since 2014 for violating women. The culprits are remaining beyond the reach due to such culture of the impunity,” it said.
Speaking at the press conference, Mahila Parishad President Ayesha Khanam said the sudden rise of rape incidents are both surprising and alarming, which will hinder the women’s advancement in the country.
“What did happen in the six months and why increased the rape incidents? It is a matter of research to identify the cause behind the rape,” she said.
About legal proceedings of the rape case, the women’s rights activist said, “In Bangladesh, a woman or girl still needs to prove whether she was raped. But in many other countries, the accused prove whether he is a rapist or not.”
To overcome the current situation, Mahila Parishad demanded ensuring speedy trial of the cases regarding the violence incidents, formulation of a separate act to prevent the rape and the sexual harassment without providing political shelter to the culprits.