26,695 rape cases filed in last 5 years: IGP office report to HC

rage case in Bangladesh
Death penalty is not a solution to gender-based sexual violence—which is a much larger systemic problem deeply rooted in the fabric of our society. Photo Courtesy: Sudeshna Biswas (Beyondparameters)

A total of 26,695 rape cases have been filed across the country in the last five years, said the office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in a report submitted to the High Court today.

Among the cases, 4,331 were filed in 2016, 4,683 in 2017, 4,695 in 2018, 6,766 in 2019, and 6,220 were lodged till October 2020, according to the report signed by Additional Deputy Inspector General of Police Md Rezaul Karim.

Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Nawroz MR Chowdhury placed the report on behalf of the IGP's office before the High Court during a hearing of a writ petition in line with its October 21, 2020 order.

DAG also sought two months for submitting a complete report on this issue.

The bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah set May 23 for further hearing on the issue. 

Meanwhile yesterday, the Supreme Court Registrar General Md Ali Akbar placed another report to the HC bench through DAG Nawroz saying that a three-member cell headed by him has been formed to monitor whether the trials of cases filed under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, 2000, are being completed within 180 days.

The monitoring cell has been constituted in line with a verdict delivered by the HC on December 5, 2016. The verdict was delivered by a High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice JBM Hassan. The full text was released on May 12, 2017.

According to Section 20 of the Act, the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal must finish case trials filed under this law within 180 days of framing charges.

Section 31 (Ka) of the law states if the trial of a case is not finished on time, the tribunal judge, public prosecutor and police officer concerned have to submit separate reports to the SC and the government, mentioning causes for the delay, and then the authorities concerned will take necessary steps.

During the hearing yesterday, the HC bench led by Justice Mozibur Rahman Miah scrutinised some verdict delivered by another HC bench issuing condition that the rape accused be granted bail if they marry their victims as they had romantic affair in the past.

Writ petition lawyers Aneek R Haque and Yeadia Zaman told the HC that rape is a non-compoundable criminal offence and cannot be settled through a "salish" or out-of-court settlement.

Following the same petition filed by Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), the HC bench led by Justice Mozibur Rahman Miah on October 21 last year, directed law enforcers to take necessary steps to stop the use of "salish" in adjudicating rape incidents in the country and also sought separate compliance reports from the IGP and SC registrar general on this issue.