Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh:

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Offline Farhana Helal Mehtab

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Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh:
« on: July 07, 2012, 02:00:08 PM »
Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh:

Eve Teasing is a common phenomenon in Bangladesh. Every other day, women come across some sort of eve teasing incidents that leave a deep psychological scar on them. This is a pathetic state of affairs faced by women of different age. The effect of eve teasing in women’s life is very painful. We are observing this cruel fact every day in our society; every single daily newspaper must have this news almost every day. This is well known to all of us but the question is how much we know about the laws related to eve teasing? The answer is very little. So in this write up, only the laws related to eve teasing have been mentioned.

Just a few years after Bangladesh’s liberation, the government established the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance of 1976 first addressed eve-teasing directly. Section 76 of the ordinance defines women teasing as, "willful and indecent exposure of one’s person in any street or public place within sight of, and in such manner as may be seen by, any woman, whether from within any house or building or not, or willful pressing or obstructing any woman in a street or public place or insulting or annoying any woman by using indecent language or making indecent sounds, gestures, or remarks in any street or public place". Women-teasing is punishable with a maximum one year of imprisonment, or with a maximum two thousand Taka fine, or with both.

That was for the first time, in Bangladesh, a law other than the Penal Code addressed the teasing offence against women. However, the term 'eve teasing' is still not used properly. Likewise, the other five metropolitan police acts/ordinances made similar provisions to penalize the offence of teasing women. However, these laws have no jurisdiction outside their respective metropolitan areas that makes the offence exclusively a local and urban phenomenon. Special laws penalizing the offence of teasing women having nationwide jurisdiction was yet to be passed.

Later, in 2000 the government enacted tougher law to protect the vulnerable women and children of the country from various typical offences. The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2000 came down heavily on the oppressors of the women.

In section 10(1), the law defines sexual torture as, “if a man touches the sexual organ or any other organ of a woman or of a child by any of his organs or by any other objects with a view to fulfilling his illegal sexual desire, such act of the man will be termed as sexual torture". This definition, in fact, includes the attempt of rape or outraging the modesty of a woman by actual physical contact. The law punishes the offender with rigorous imprisonment of minimum 3 and maximum 10 years and also an indefinite amount of fine.

In section 10(2), the law defines sexual harassment as, "if a man, with a view to fulfilling his illegal sexual desire outrage a woman's modesty or makes erotic gesture, such act of the man will amount to sexual harassment". A rigorous imprisonment ranging from 2 to 7 years and additionally an indefinite amount of fine is rewarded for this offence. According to this definition sexual harassment is an offence that is committed by not coming with actual physical contact to the victim.
However, the section 10(2) was abrogated when the law was last amended in 2003. A new provision has been added under section 9(ka) of the present law that states, if a woman is forced to commit suicide as a direct consequence of somebody's willful dishonor/sexual harassment/ assault, then the offender will be liable to a maximum of ten years and a minimum of five years of imprisonment. The amendment actually denied the remedy of sexual harassment of non-contact nature.

After the amendment of The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2000 in 2003, there remained no legal provisions in the country addressing directly the problem of sexual harassment. But, newspapers bring out pathetic reports on sexual harassment every now and then. In this crucial situation, Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) filed a Writ Petition (No. 5916 of 2008) to the High Court Division. The Honorable Court, after examining the pros and cons of the problem issued their Judgment on 14.5.2009 giving the government an eleven-point directive which will fill up the legislative vacuum in the nature of law. In these directives the Court suggested a detailed definition of sexual harassment that included all other existing definitions of non-contact sexually connoting offences. It also incorporated the modern means of erotic insults against the women that are prevalent in our present age of information technology. However, though the ingredients of the offence of eve teasing are easily distinguishable from the order, the court did not use the term eve teasing. Actually, eve teasing, though commonly used and understood a term in Bangladesh, its legal definition is yet to be established.

The government has already started the process of fulfilling the directives of the judgment. Complaint Committees have been formed in many institutions according to the decretive no-9 of the judgment. Besides this, to combat this problem the government of Bangladesh has authorized ‘Mobile courts’ in order to take legal action against those who are convicted of stalking and harassing a woman. That person would be suffering one year in jail or pay a fine of about Tk. 5000 or both.  And it was definitely appreciated that on June 13, 2010 the Education ministry of Bangladesh announced June 13 as ‘Eve Teasing Protection Day’.


Sources:  The Penal Code 1860
     Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance, 1976
     The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2000
     The Prevention of Women and Children Act-2003(amendment)
     Internet edition of Daily Newspapers, Weekly Tabloids


Farhana Helal Mehtab
Associate Professor & Head
Department of Law



Offline MRK_Rashel

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Re: Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh:
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 10:55:12 PM »
Dear Ma’am,

Thank you for your essential post about “Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh”.

Now, we need to notify the people properly about the laws and punishments for Eve-Teasing. Arranging seminars, road shows, programs in TV & Radio, postering in every public places & in front of the Schools, collages to aware the people about the Eve-Teasing and take other active stapes to stop Eve-Teasing.   
     
MRK Rashel
122-38-002
Student of LL.M program

Offline ishaquemijee

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Re: Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh:
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2012, 08:47:04 AM »
Thank you very much madam for such valuable post.

Offline shaikat

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Re: Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh:
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2012, 11:10:15 AM »
We have a international standard law but now its time to implementation.

Thanks for your post.
Moheuddin Ahmed Shaikat
Administrative Officer
Department of CSE
Daffodil International University

Offline Farhana Helal Mehtab

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Re: Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh:
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2012, 11:20:37 AM »
Thanks to everyone Rashel, Mr Ishaquemijee, Mr shaikat for showing keen interest to a crucial social problem of Bangladesh. In fact, we all have to come forward for solving this problem.

@ Rashel:  In my LL.M Good Governance class I  mentioned  that, it’s a duty of govt to ensure the role of women in every sector. And it will not be possible until & unless we give the guarantee of women’s safe and secured movement.  Thanks dear for your suggestions for creating public awareness. O yes, I like your image attachment too; it’s really nice and very much perfect for eve teasing.
All the Best!

Offline rumman

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Re: Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh:
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2012, 02:07:31 PM »
Yes, the best way is to break the silence. Protest to it whenever you see it. As I have seen that people tend to ignore and especially females when they see that it is not happening with them.

Md. Abdur Rumman Khan
Senior Assistant Registrar

Offline Farhana Helal Mehtab

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Re: Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh:
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2012, 12:59:53 PM »
Yes, this is fact that people ignore it & specially women, if its not happening with them. But why they are doing like that, the simple answer is for insecure feeling. It’s the duty of every institution or organization to provide the safe environment at least to its women employees……if this practice established, one day change will come in the society.  And in this case, we can feel proud for our organization, DIU, which provides us safe & healthy working environment. Here, zero tolerance is showing if the case related with eve teasing is properly reported.

Offline shamsi

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Re: Laws Related to EVE TEASING in Bangladesh:
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2012, 03:48:35 PM »
Dear Madam,

Thanks for sharing the laws in detail.And like many other forum members, I also believe that it is the time to implement these laws.But simultaneously we have to raise our voice against eve teasing.We have to counsel our students about the dire consequences of this social crime and thus help them to cultivate the right behavior. And if we can work on it seriously we are definite to make our DIU campus a completely eve teasing free area.Finally,I would like to thank DIU authority for its honest announcement of zero tolerance of such a crime.

Regards

Shamsi Ara Huda
Senior Lecturer, Dept.of English