A Supreme Court lawyer has served a notice on the government requesting it to formulate a law prescribing an equal and absolute right of Hindu and Buddhist women on their parents' and husbands' properties.
Advocate Tanoy Kumar Saha sent the notice to the secretaries to the ministries of cabinet, law and religious affairs on Sunday, saying that Bangladesh is under an obligation to enact or to frame such policies that will eradicate all sorts of discrimination on any ground as it is guaranteed by the constitution.
The lawyer said in the notice that Bangladesh has been promoting the need for women's empowerment for the purpose of poverty alleviation over the last few decades.
"Women are playing a significant role in the economic growth of the country in spite of being a susceptible section of the society. They are actively taking part in the economic activities of the country even though they are deprived of their basic rights in almost every sphere of life only on the ground that they are women. So their activities are no more limited to the household chores only. The picture of discrimination is seen irrespective of their social, economic and religious status," he said in the notice.
Lawyer Tanoy Kumar Saha said in the notice that "If we consider the property rights of women in Bangladesh, they appear to be poor and insufficient. The condition of Hindu and Buddhist women is even worse since they are given very limited right of property under the personal law of Bangladesh. For any country it is a matter of regret that a large segment of the population is being discriminated against under the legal framework of the state mechanism only because they belong to a minority community."
The lawyer said in the notice that in Bangladesh the Hindu and Buddhist are guaranteed meager property rights in comparison to their male relative as well as their other religious counterparts."Although Bangladesh is mandated through its constitution to prohibit all sorts of discrimination on the ground of sex and religion, no single piece of legislation has so far been enacted to reform the traditional laws that guarantee limited property rights to Hindu and Buddhist women. Moreover, as a member of international community and signatory to various international conventions, Bangladesh is bound to eradicate all sorts of discriminations. Therefore, by not addressing the property rights of Hindu and Buddhist women, Bangladesh is not only violating the constitutional mandate of non-discrimination but also its international obligation," he said in the notice.In the notice, he requested the respondents to take proper and necessary steps to legislate and enact laws ensuring an equal and absolute right of Hindu and Buddhist women on their parents' or husbands' properties.Tanoy Kumar Saha told The Daily Star that he will move a writ petition before the High Court after one month seeking necessary directives if the authorities concerned of the government don't take any initiative for formulating a law in line with his notice.