Stop rape arbitration | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:10 AM, October 22, 2020

Stop rape arbitration

HC orders law enforcers to take measures

The High Court yesterday directed law enforcers to take necessary steps to stop the use of salish (arbitration) in adjudicating rape incidents in the country.

The salish, or village panchayat, has acted for many years as a traditional judicial mechanism, operating mostly in rural parts of Bangladesh. 

The court also ordered the authorities concerned of the government to submit a report to it in three months on how many rape cases were sent to the tribunals for trial in the last five years.

The report must include the steps the authorities are taking to ensure completion of trial proceedings within 180 days, in line with the court's earlier directives.

The HC also issued a rule asking the authorities to explain in four weeks why holding salish to settle rape incidents should not be declared a criminal offence.

The HC bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Mohi Uddin Shamim issued the directives and rule following a writ petition filed by Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), a leading rights organisation, on October 19 seeking necessary directives on this issue.

Lawyers Aneek R Haque and Yeadia Zaman appeared for the writ petitioner while Deputy Attorney General Nawroz MR Chowdhury represented the state.

Lawyer Shahinuzzaman Shahin submitted the petition, on behalf of ASK, to the HC on October 19, saying that the rape is a noncompoundable criminal offence and it cannot be settled through a salish or out of court.

In the petition, he requested the HC to issue necessary directives to ensure completion of trial proceedings of rape cases within 180 days in line with its earlier directives and relevant provisions of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, 2000.

The organisation urged the HC to learn how many rape cases were filed with the police stations across the country and how many were sent to courts for trial in the last 10 years.

The ASK, in the petition, also prayed the HC to issue a directive on the authorities to implement the provision of closed-door trials of rape cases.

 

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