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Topics - Ferdousi Begum

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National & International Seminars / Seminar at East West University
« on: July 19, 2018, 09:25:28 AM »
A seminar on Legal Research Opportunity is going to be held at East West University today from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.

Academic institutions are increasingly requiring a PhD degree for recruitment and promotion of law academics. This presentation will highlight different approaches for PhD research. It will particularly emphasise on the challenges and opportunities for aspiring PhD students in securing admission and scholarship. PhD scholarships opportunities in Australia and some other countries will also be discussed in the presentation. This presentation will also include information about various ways for writing research papers and opportunities and challenges for publication of research papers in leading law journals.

Biography of the Speaker :
Associate Professor (Dr) Saiful Karim is the Director (International) of the School of Law at the Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia. Dr Karim has held Visiting Faculty position at Sydney University where he taught a postgraduate course on Asia Pacific Environmental Law. He was a consultant at the University of the South Pacific. He was a visiting research fellow at the National University of Singapore. He practiced at a Singapore law firm. He was a lawyer of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA). Dr Karim teaches and researches in different areas of international law, environmental law and agricultural law. He has published extensively in the fields of public international law and environmental law and has presented research papers in many conferences and workshops organised by various academic and research organisations based in Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania. Dr Karim is the author of Prevention of Pollution of the Marine Environment from Vessels: The Potential and Limits of the International Maritime Organisation (Springer, 2015), Maritime Terrorism and the Role of Judicial Institutions in the International Legal Order (Brill-Nijhoff, 2017) and Shipbreaking in Developing Countries: A Requiem for Environmental Justice from the Perspective of Bangladesh (Routledge, 2018). Dr Karim is a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC). The Australian federal government also nominated him as an expert in the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) established under the auspices of the United Nations. Dr Karim is the recipient of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law 2018 Emerging Scholarship Award for his outstanding contribution in interdisciplinary research of environmental law.

A Seminar on "Crime & Punishment: Issues and Challenges of Today's Bangladesh" is going to be held on August 4, 2018 in Dhaka International University. It will be hosted by Bangladesh Institute of Crime and Justice Studies (BICJS). No registration fee is needed. Students are highly encouraged to apply for registration.

Research & Publication / Conference at DU
« on: July 17, 2018, 02:35:05 PM »
The Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka is organizing Senior Advocate Ozair Farooq Memorial Law Conference on 16-17 September 2018. The key theme of the conference is ‘Law, Justice and Society’, which is designed to address contemporary legal issues. The conference is aimed at creating a platform for young law academics and scholars to present their legal research.

Under the principal theme of the conference, this year abstracts are invited under the following four sub-categories of themes-

Themes of the Conference

    Digital Security & Cyber Crime
    Environment, Natural Resources & Climate Justice
    Constitutional Rights & Remedies
    Human Rights, Refugee Rights & Realities

Abstract Submission

Interested legal academics (preferably Lecturer and Assistant Professor) and young lawyers/legal researchers should send an abstract of an original paper (maximum 500 words) to The abstract should be accompanied by a short biography including the author’s date of birth and academic/professional affiliation.  Subject head of the email should include “Abstract submission for the Law Conference”.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is August 2, 2018.

The deadline for submission of the full paper is October 31, 2018.

Selected manuscripts will be published in the Dhaka University Law Journal subject to the Journal’s peer review process. The paper should also maintain the reference style of the Journal which, along with other details, will be sent to the authors once their abstracts are accepted for the conference.

Conference Registration

In addition to the submission of abstracts for presentation at the conference, the organizers are also inviting participation from young legal researchers as discussants/observers at the conference. However, the number of participants is limited and prior registration is required for participation. For registration as a participant at the conference, please send a cover letter along with a short biography to Please write “Registration for Participation at the Law Conference” in the subject head of the email.

The registration is free of charge. All participants including the selected conference presenters will be provided with lunch and refreshments on the conference day. However, all other costs and arrangements regarding attending the conference including travel, accommodation, etc will be participants’ personal responsibility.

For more details, visit the official website or contact with Professor Dr. Md. Rahmat Ullah, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000. E-mail:, Phone: +880258613724 and +88029661900, Ext. 4348


Kathmandu School of Law, Nepal is calling for applications from interested persons for the Summer School on International Law, scheduled to be held from 21 – 30 August, 2018 at Kathmandu, Nepal.

Application Deadline – July 15, 2018

See the flyer below for details, and visit the official website of KSL Nepal for application guidance.

Research & Publication / Human Rights Summer School
« on: July 17, 2018, 02:30:37 PM »

Empowerment through Law of the Common People (ELCOP) will be organizing the 19th Human Rights Summer School (HRSS) from 13th to 23rd October, 2018 at Proshika HRDC, Koitta, Manikganj, Bangladesh.

The HRSS is a two weeks long residential training on human rights which is comprised of class lectures, small group exercises, simulation, community visit, moot court competition and many more. The theme for this year is “Human Rights and Digital Age”. The teaching faculty is also international and in the past HRSS resource persons included distinguished scholars from Australia, India, Nepal, South Africa, Iran and host Bangladesh.

Every year the HRSS admission committee selects 42 final year undergraduate law/LLM students from home and abroad. Interested students are welcome to apply with necessary documents and bKash payment of BDT 500/- (only local applicants).

For details please download the application form from the link below and submit to

Application form:

For more details, visit

Application Deadline: 2nd September 2018.

Research & Publication / Future law Initiative
« on: July 17, 2018, 02:28:49 PM »

Let's have a look on the attachment.


2018 IIER 352nd International Conference on Law and Political Science(ICLPS) will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh during 1st - 2nd August, 2018 as the Conference of ICLPS-2018. ICLPS 2018 is sponsored by International Institute of Engineers and Researchers (IIER). It aims to be one of the leading international conferences for presenting novel and fundamental advances in the fields of Law and Political Science. It also serves to foster communication among researchers and practitioners working in a wide variety of scientific areas with a common interest in improving Law and Political Science related techniques.

2018 is the Third year of ICLPS, it will be held every year since 2014, the conference will be an international forum for the presentation of technological advances and research results in the fields of Business Management and Information Technology. The conference will bring together leading researchers, engineers and scientists in the domain of Business Management and Information Technology interest from around the world.

Important Dates

Paper submission deadline


13th July, 2018

Final date of notification


15th July, 2018

Last date of registration


17th July, 2018

Date of Conference


1st - 2nd August, 2018

Note * Notification of acceptance or rejection for the submitted paper will be notified to you within 4 working days of submission date. ** If you are not getting any reply then, you can mail us to Mention your submitted Paper Code in the mail


A seminar on "Criminal Sentencing System in Bangladesh" will be held on 25th July at 2 pm in Eastern University Seminar Hall for students. Registration fee is 100 taka. Certificates will be provided to all the participants.

Contact: Farhan - 01818200502
               Huda - 01620182328

Students of all universities are directed to apply there.

Law / Guide to find and read law reports
« on: March 30, 2016, 01:31:50 PM »

Reading through topical case laws is a must for all law students. This is not only confined within knowing about celebrated age-old judicial decisions, but also extends to get oneself be acquainted with newly held decisions of both home and abroad.

There are many places and techniques to search for judicial decisions. Law reports are the reliable and available source of finding mostly important court decisions. In the context of Bangladesh, there are many institutions that publish decisions of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. Dhaka Law Reports (DLR), Bangladesh Legal Decisions (BLD), Mainstream Law Reports (MLR), Bangladesh Law Chronicles (BLC), Bangladesh Law Times (BLT), Law Guardian (LG) and many others publish Supreme Court decisions both monthly and yearly in order to provide for ready case references to the members of legal community and people at large. Under the guidance from the Judicial Reform Committee, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh has also started publishing an online law report named Supreme Court Online Bulletin (SCOB) which compiles important judgments from the Appellate Division and the High Court Division. Till December 2015, it has published five issues which are available at Supreme Court website.

After the Supreme Court of Bangladesh was established in 1972, it initially published a law report, containing the judgments, orders and decision of the Court. To note, there is no such institutions that publish decisions held by the sub-ordinate courts in Bangladesh. Few law reports, however, publish the decisions of special courts/tribunals such as the decisions of Administrative Tribunal, International Crimes Tribunal, Bangladesh Bar Council Tribunal, etc. either in regular or special issue.

Generally, law report is a record of a judicial decision on a point of law which sets a precedent. The binding effect of Supreme Court judgments as 'precedents' has been well clarified in article 111 of the Constitution of Bangladesh which says that the law declared by the Appellate Division is binding on the High Court Division and the law declared by either division of the Supreme Court is binding on all courts subordinate to it. A plain reading of this constitutional provision gives rises to a misconception among the common people that judge's decision delivered in the court of law always creates a binding precedent. Yes, it does; but a decision which does not lay down any legal principle ought not to be considered as a binding precedent [see, M. P. v. Bablu Natt (2009) 2 SCC 272 and Sufia Khatun v. Mahbuba Rahman (2010) 30 BLD (AD) 41]. In other words, not all decisions taken in a court of law or published in a law report qualifies to be a precedent.

Of any law report available in print form, at the very beginning the reader will find the updated list of judges of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, and that of law officers who represent the government in the Supreme Court. Law reports also include a complete list of statutes that get passed in concerned year by the National Parliament. For the readers easily to find decisions, each law report has separate section containing the decisions of both the Divisions of the Supreme Court.

In the table of contents, anyone can find the list of decisions held in civil disputes, criminal cases, special original litigations (PIL, constitutional issues, etc.), and statutory original matters (income tax/VAT and company matters, etc.). Titles of the cases suggest names of the parties involved in the litigation.

Index of cases contains the highlighted portions of the decisions (a brief summary of the case, the holding, and any significant case law considered) selected by the editors of each law reports which are known as head-notes. It is important to mention that these highlighted notes are not to be taken as the ratio decidendi or obiter dicta of the decisions. One needs to read the full judgment and get the ration decidendi as well as obiter dicta after applying proper knowledge of law and jurisprudence [see for details, Mahmudul Islam, Constitutional Law of Bangladesh (Dhaka: Mullick Brothers), 2012, pp. 910-18].

Referring to relevant laws or rules, these head-notes generally guide the readers to find detailed discussion in full judgment. Index is presented with a specific reference to Constitution, Statutory Act, Rule, Regulation or Order. Hence, it is easy to find cases related to any specific law or constitutional provision by seeing only the alphabetical order of laws in the index.

It is to be remembered that law reports are edited publications and do not contain all the decisions of each year. Therefore, law reports vary from one to another in publishing judicial decisions.

The importance of law reports lies in section 3 of the Law Reports Act, 1875 which says that courts in Bangladesh are not 'bound to hear cited, or […] receive or treat as an authority binding on it, the report of any case decided by the Supreme Court, other than a report published under the authority of Government.' This implies that reported case laws have considerable amount of impact on the functioning of judiciary. Application of law reports is also essential to understand the judge's depth of knowledge in writing judgments. In present scenario, we often see that lower courts – and even different benches of the High Court Division – deliver inconsistent and/or contradictory pronouncements on a particular legal issue. The consequence of which is evident in SCOB editorial note of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif that 'these inconsistencies, though rare, draw criticisms and harsh strictures from the Appellate Division'. For determining the real position of law, therefore, it is imperative to know the day-to-day legal developments with the help of law reports so that individuals concerned with law's application in practical life can knowledgably contribute to the society.


Law / Urge to amend Consumer Rights Protection Act
« on: March 30, 2016, 01:29:33 PM »

In 1985, United Nations provides a guideline to protect consumer right for its member nations. After the long 23 years of such guideline, finally in 2009 the Government of Bangladesh enacted consumer right protection law. But it is the matter of regret, this law itself is not much consumer oriented.

Although the law defines consumer as buying any food or goods or enjoying any service but throughout the whole Act it only focuses consumption as the only medium to be a consumer. The Consumer Rights Protection Act, 2009 (CRPA) defines 'service' as transport, telecommunication, water supply, drainage, fuel, gas, electricity, construction, residential hotels, restaurant and health service, which is made available to users in exchange of price but does not include the rendering of service free of cost. This is a good provision but missed some common areas of service such as, banking, financing insurance, housing, entertainment, the purveying of news or other information etc.

The CRPA remains silent regarding the false representation of goods or services, spurious goods and services, warranty or guarantee services. Even the Act does not define 'unfair trade practice'. A full and more specific definition of unfair trade practice is necessary to add in the current Act.

The CRPA provides, to sell or offer to sell any goods or service or medicine at a higher price than the fixed price that would be the act against the consumer right. However, there should have some provisions regarding bargaining price and authority to increase the price after offer to sell.

Furthermore, consumers need to know about the possible remedies after the closure of any promotional offer that the trader might have refused to provide promised gift or service or stop the offer without prior notice.

According to our present CRPA only the consumer can file a written complain to the director general of Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection.  There should have a provision that will allow the registered consumer associations to file the complaint on behalf of any consumer irrespective of his/her membership in that association.

According to our present law after receipt of a complaint, the Director General may, by order, allow the complaint to be proceeded with or rejected. But in case of rejection there should have a provision of giving opportunity of being heard to the complaint. Moreover, there should be specific time limit within which complaint shall ordinarily be decided. Additionally, the time limit for filing complaint is only 30 days in the current law, it should be extended.

The Act should  insert the rule of ex parte on the basis of evidence brought by the complainant where opposite party omits or fails to take any action to represent his case within the time given by the Director general. At the same time if the complainant fails to appear on the date of hearing before the Director General, the director general may either dismiss the complaint for default or decided it on merit.

The punishment for the act against the consumer rights, which is maximum three years of imprisonment or as fine of fifty thousand to two lacs taka, is not sufficient and nothing left here to the consumer except 25 percent of fine as compensation.

Like in India the director general in Bangladesh should have the power to grant punitive damages and some other specific performances as required. In the law we should have the provision of issuing corrective advertisement to neutralize the effect of misleading advertisement at the cost of opposite party.

By: Shakhawat Shamim, Assistant Professor of Law, Bangladesh University of Business and Technology (BUBT)

Law / Terrorism as organised crime
« on: March 30, 2016, 01:26:47 PM »
Given the rising crisis of transnational organised crime globally, the concept of terrorism becomes very topical. The Parisian and other incidents remind us of the global outcry in relation to the fear of terror and the capacity of criminals who can through very small means commit very dangerous and shocking crimes. Bangladesh too has not been spared from this crisis. We grew up reading about non-violence and Satyagraha. My fear and angst is our children will read about violence, terrorism and indifference.

Scholars have debated about the definition of organised crime for decades. Block and Chambilss defined organised crime as a “set of activities” which are albeit criminal in nature ranging from networking, collaboration to making profit and sustaining groups. However, this is not a definition of organised crime that encompasses every element of it. The term 'transnational' creates issue when it comes to organised crime because it indicates its association with cross-border activities excluding the State. This constitutes the theoretical foundation of the definitions.

Historically, there has been a focus on drugs, fraud and counterfeiting, human trafficking that transcended its interest from the local level to global context with an estimated worth of approximately one trillion dollars out of which half is consisted of narcotics, for instance, the notion of 'PaxMafiosa'. The interest of this article is on the newest addition, 'terrorism'. In light of the 1971 war, one can state that 'one state's terrorist is another's freedom fighter'. So where does one draw the line in relation to national/lingual and/or religious identity and their emotional outburst in relation to it?

The climate of transnational organised crimes has become so threatening that it is able to impact national security resources undermining the morale and disciple. As a result, they can be termed the agents for instability and insecurity such as the Balkan arms race, so, is known to be creating 'states-within-states'. It is also instrumental in fuelling political insurgencies. With this growth, the line between protest and revolution and crime and terrorism is increasingly becoming blurred, dividing the 'us' and 'them'.

We are constantly reminded to choose one. The lens we use to see the so-called terrorists today have been different in the way we saw Naxals, Muktibahinis and Shantibahinis. Furthermore, if we give up to the torment of making a choice and accept an either 'us' or 'them', then how do we stand up against 'state-induced' terrorism?

The United Nations' response to transnational organised crime has been the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime or the Palermo Convention along with its protocols. In practice, it has been left at a corner in the international regime to be a child's toy. A more interesting example is the legislative anti-terrorism regime of Bangladesh which has the potential to undermine freedom of expression.

There is quite understandably hesitance from the states to ratify treaties which brings the acts of the states into question.  So, can it be deduced from this that states want the flexibility to carry on activities that fall within the remit of the theoretical definition of organised crime and only call it a 'crime' when the targeted group is inconvenient for it? Should a group refuge to be killed in genocide to avoid being called terrorists?

The 9/11 terrorist attack raised more questions in the context of international terrorism than ever. If analysed, it can be invariably understood that the entire incident involved quite a sophisticated level of planning, cooperation, financing and sacrifice. The rise of transnational organised crime and international networked terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda has given rise to much panic among states due to its increased insecurity towards states being threatened by non-state actors. The truth is none of the international regimes or the states have ever seen the dynamic landscape of 'oil-driven' politics with a humane eye.

By: Lemona Chanda, a BPTC Student.

Law / Enforcement of ADR without force
« on: March 29, 2016, 11:38:51 AM »
In legal parlance, when do we term the legislature utopian? It is obviously at that time, when they expect proper compliance of any legal provision without providing for any force. In fact, presence of force draws the line of difference between legal and moral principles. I consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and/or mediation system in the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) of 1908 as utopian since it has accommodated no element of force in case of unexplainable non-compliance.

In par with the civil justice system of different countries, the mediation provisions have been included in the CPC in 2003 with a noble goal of reducing huge case backlog. But why this system is not working could be identified observing the real scenario of mediation sessions in the subordinate judiciary.

In practice, when the written statement is submitted, the suit is required to be sent to mediation. In most of the cases, the advocate-mediator submits report of non-agreement of the parties to the compromise effort irrespective of the merits of the cases referred to mediation. Sometimes, the judges call the parties in private with an endeavour to settle but the tutored parties either imitate their lawyers' stand or show tremendous adversity to such efforts. Consequently, the suits end up in framing issues for trial. Meanwhile, two court-dates, i.e. at least two months elapse without any positive improvement to the case.

As part of making the mediation mandatory, an amendment to section 89A of the CPC has already been brought substituting the word 'may' with 'shall' thus making directory provision mandatory (this would be effective on publication of gazette under section 89E). The result would, however, be same even if the mandatory provision is given into effect (i.e., sending suits for mediation and returning to cause-lists without any success wasting, at least, two more months) because it does not provide for any sanction to the negligent party to the compromise efforts. This deduction of sanction might sound peculiar as we believe compromising any dispute is the discretion of the party and there should be no sanction for its failure.  There is no disagreement with this belief, but who would be held responsible for the costs borne by the winning party as s/he had a reasonable right to expect compromise-offer from the defeating (weaker) party.

In the UK, before going to court, at the 'Pre-action Protocol' stage, lawyers on both sides are under a heavy obligation to consider the ADR and to opt for litigation only as a means of last resort. Both sides are required to advance evidence before the court that ADR options were considered. However, like our system, this protocol expressly recognises that the parties cannot be forced to enter into any form of ADR, but a failure to comply with the requirement to consider ADR may be taken into account as a means to impose costs.

Generally, the defeated party is required to pay all the costs of the case incurred by the winning party in the form of paying court fees, process fees, evidence collection fees, lawyer's fees etc. There is also apprehension of exceeding the value of real claim by the amount of costs. For example, at the end of the trial, it might happen that the real claim decreed is £5000, whereas the costs of the case are determined at £8000. However, question may arise how the judge identifies the real costs of a case. This would happen well-ahead of the trial when a judge hears both the parties for a cost budgeting to determine the expected expenditure of the case. The level of concern about costs is to such an extent that this is one of the main reasons for choosing an ADR process because it is likely to prove cheaper than taking a case to trial. This costs concern compels the parties to cooperate rather than to compete in the dispute settlement.

Another question may arise as to why the stronger party in evidence would cooperate for compromise. This is because of the part-36 offer which, in brief, is an offer to settle a dispute by any party at any stage of the proceedings, refusal of which has some cost implications. Such as, if the refusing party finally wins the case, s/he may not obtain any costs from the losing party (the party offering compromise). Sometimes, the court even may order the winning party to pay all the costs incurred by the losing party from the date of offer to final judgement. It may happen that after deducting the winning party's own costs and the costs to be paid to the losing party, the winning party may get less amount than the amount offered in part-36 offer.

Therefore, the force of costs compels even the party having strong evidence to cooperate in compromising any dispute at the earliest possible time reducing pressure on courts. Following the UK-ADR system, I think, we should carry out research to locate the position of 'force' or 'sanction' into the ADR provisions of our country for making it effective.



Law / Ensure justice for involuntary disappearance
« on: March 29, 2016, 11:36:20 AM »
Recognised as a human rights violation back in 1970s, enforced or involuntary disappearance is now unanimously accepted as one of the gravest crimes in today's world.

Article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPED) defines "enforced disappearance" as an arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorisation, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law. Article 7(2)(i) of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court provides similar definition with two additional points that (a) such disappearance could even be occurred by a political organisation and (b) there must exist an intention on the part of an offender to remove someone from the protection of the law for 'a prolonged period of time'.

Article 1 of the ICPED prohibits enforced disappearance while article 24 defines a victim as not only the person who is subjected to enforced disappearance, but also as any other individual who has suffered harm as the direct result of such disappearance.

In Bangladesh, between January 2009 and August 2015, human rights groups have documented at least 212 people forcibly disappeared in the country. Often victims family filed the writ of Habeas Corpus according to article 102(2)(b)(i) of the Constitution of Bangladesh before the High Court Division. But the Court has only issued rule against the respondents and accepted the statements of the law-enforcement agencies that have formally refused involvement in all crimes of disappearance.

The UN Declaration on Enforced Disappearance (A/RES/47/133, 1992) specifies that enforced disappearance constitutes a violation of the right to recognition as a person before the law, the right to liberty and security of the person and the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and that it violates or constitutes a grave threat to the right to life. 

Bangladesh is not a party to the ICPED but party to the ICC and also Accession on 23 March 2010, it legally recognizes enforced disappearance as an international crime and is bound to ensure accountability. Moreover, the significance of ascertaining the customary law prohibition on enforced disappearance is important as a norm to be invoked within international and domestic jurisdictions in the absence of binding treaty law. It constitutes a crime against humanity; any enforced disappearance is a violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law. So Bangladesh government must ensure justice for involuntary disappearances.

By: A. Z. M. Arman Habib, Student of LLM in International Law South Asian University, India

Gender equality is a procedure for sharing out resources, programmes and decision makings in a way that ensures equal distribution of the resources, facilities between men and women and each have equal access to the same. While the aspiration of taking care of everyone in a similar manner may seem splendid, the notion of equal handling has a propensity to close the eyes to the fact that every individual is unique and dissimilar. People are divergent in their capacities, interests, resources and experiences and hence, it has been rightly observed by many that time has come to understand the importance of the difference between gender equality and gender equity.

Gender equity is the process of handing over resources, programs and decision-makings fairly to both males and females. This requires ensuring that everyone has access to a full assortment of opportunities to attain the social, psychological and physical benefits available in a society.

The Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, 1972 have also incorporated the principles of gender equality and equity. Women in Bangladesh have these rights recognised by the Constitution.

Article 27 of the Constitution stands for every citizen, to be treated equally before law and to be entitled to equal protection of law in Bangladesh. Further, article 28 of the Constitution authorises the State to make special provision in favour of women or children or for the advancement of any backward section of citizens.

Then why still a substantial number of women in Bangladesh are struggling to get their rights established and often find them in an arbitrary position when they seek to establish their rights?

Story of Naina may put some light on the answer we are seeking. Naina is a girl from a middle class family who got married with one of her classmates. Her husband got a chance to do his doctoral degree abroad. Naina went with her husband but came back Bangladesh within six months as she got a good job offer in Bangladesh. Her in-laws did not like the fact that she is not staying with her husband as a homemaker. She fought for what she wants. She came back to Bangladesh to start her first job but the salary was not of an expected level.

During the passage of time, her husband started bullying her for her low income and harassing her on every step. Naina had to answer everyday why she is continuing her job when she is incapable of running the family with her salary. The Husband forgot that Naina loves her own identity. May be she is not earning enough but her job gives her an identity. When she wanted to raise her voice that she does not want to be a homemaker, the traditions and family culture prevailing in this country did not want her to speak up for her own identity.

Victims like Naina in reality cannot resort to any law to establish their right to make choices of their own life. The prevailing dominant culture of our society tends for a woman to be  raised in such a way that she actually believes that her male guardian knows what is better for her than she does herself and she agrees that he should make decisions for her on matters that affect her life. The patriarchal beliefs try to hold back every woman who wants to reach the peak of success.

In Bangladesh justice for women can only be ensured when women can seek and obtain a remedy for grievances in compliance with human rights standards. Cultural and social practices in Bangladesh discriminate against women and inhibit their access to opportunities. People have not yet sufficiently understood that human rights are meant to be entitled by every human being, irrespective of her sex, gender, religion, colour, race, nationality and, above all, cultural beliefs etc.

Women are also human beings who deserve to exercise the right to make choices of their own lives. People of Bangladesh are prone to stick to their own horrific culture of social injustices that dominate and discriminate against women. Hence, the justice fails to peep into the life of many women in Bangladesh.

It is time to remove this evil culture of social injustices and establish that justice is ensured to all the women through being fair to both men and women as per their need and desire. To guarantee justice, measures have to be put in place to recompense for the historical and social culture and traditions, beliefs that prevent women and men from operating on a level playing field.

By: Tasmiah Nuhiya Ahmed, Advocate and Research Assistant at Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs (BILIA)

Law / Bar to disclose rape victim's identity
« on: March 29, 2016, 11:31:16 AM »
Rape is one of the most heinous criminal offences occurring in Bangladesh. From January to September 2014, a total 527 incidents of rape or attempt to rape was documented in Bangladesh by Ain-O-Salish Kendra (ASK). Among these only 291 cases were filed, 43 victims died after rape and 11 other committed suicide.

The tendency of unreported rape cases is said to be the fruit of social stigma associated with rape and prevailing patriarchal attitudes, protracted court proceedings, inadequate investigations by police, lacunae in law, particularly the absence of rape shield provisions, etc. To justify these claims and provide sufficient awareness, we first analyse the law in writing – to which the majority of the population is not familiar with. In turn we will set propositions for the protection of rape victim's identity.

According to section 375 of the Penal Code of 1860, rape is committed when a man has sexual intercourse with a woman against her will, without free consent, falsely getting consent by making her belief that she is lawfully married, when her consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt and with or without consent if she is under 14 years old.

In the explanation of this section an exception is cited where sexual intercourse with one's wife over 13 years is not considered rape. In the current context this definition fails to address the cases of marital rape wholly and enables sexual violence on girls over 14 years who are still children by definition.

In the Prevention of Oppression against Women and Children Act of 2000, the discussion of rape begins from section 9 which declares a person or group committing rape or attempting to do such is to be punished with rigorous life imprisonment and fine. Death penalty is applicable for the guilty party when the victim has died or has been inflicted injury due to rape. In case of rape under police custody, this law for the first time recognised the direct responsibility of police personnel who happen to be in-charge of the custody of women. Among others, section 13 of the aforementioned law provides that the child born of rape is to be maintained by the perpetrator himself.

For victims, however, unaccepted ignominy often follows from irresponsible dissemination, through distribution of their pictures and identity. This is interpretive of a breach of article 43 of the Constitution of Bangladesh, which safeguards one's right to privacy. With the recent disclosure of yet another rape victim from Comilla, debate has sparked over freedom of expression and the prior mentioned right. This is so despite that to protect the acquaintance of the victim, section 14 of the above mentioned Act restricts the publication or sharing of news which discloses identity of the rape victims. That can include pictures and specially pictures of the victims during or after attacked. If done the accused is punished with imprisonment, which may extend to two years or with fine not exceeding one lac taka or both.

In social media platforms, such regulations are often unheeded and since we do not have any social media law for such circumstances per se, right to safeguard oneself against irresponsible dissemination retains the status quo of a penumbra right.Specifically, one might as well question the need to share or distribute the often very lurid and traumatised depictions of the victim, given the fact that the victim has already been burdened social stigma and insecurity. Unconsented, uninformed and irresponsible dispensation of such nature has the effect of desensitisation rather than victim's destigmatisation, owing to the fact that harm is aggravated by allowing disclosure of private facts without attaching any liability whatsoever to an identifiable and culpable individual. Hence, parceling out of insensitive imagery through social platforms is necessary by way of legal regress.

By: Rifat Z. Khan and Adib Shamsuddin

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