Ensuring equal rights: Anti-Discrimination Bill 2022 placed in parliament
The 'Anti-Discrimination Bill 2022' was placed in the parliament today to protect, uphold and ensure equal rights and dignity of every Bangladeshi citizen.
Law Minister Anisul Huq placed the bill which was sent to the parliamentary standing committee on the respective ministry for further examination. The parliamentary watchdog was asked to submit its report before the House within 30 days.
While placing the proposed law, the law minister said the bill is aimed at preventing all forms of discrimination in the light of the constitution.
According to the draft law, "Inequalities have been eliminated worldwide through a number of international conventions."
"In this context, the issues of elimination of inequality have been clearly mentioned (in the act)."
As per the law, a monitoring committee would be established. The law minister shall be the chairman of the central committee and a joint secretary from the legislative wing will be its member secretary.
Besides, the president of Bangladesh Employers' Federation, three representatives of human rights and social service organisations, two workers' representatives – one of whom should be a tea worker, four representatives of different religious organisations, one representative of minority ethnic groups, and one representative of the Dalit community will be its members.
The committee will monitor if any violation of human rights is occurring across the country. It will hold at least one meeting in three months.
An anti-discrimination cell will be formed. The cell will then form anti-discrimination national, divisional, district and other committees to prevent discriminatory activities, if any.
The government, as per the bill, will create awareness among people so that that no discrimination takes place across the society.
If anyone lodges a complaint, the district committee will investigate the matter within 30 days.
If the district committee fails to provide proper remedy, the complainant could urge the divisional committee for an enquiry within 30 days of filing the complaint.
In case the divisional committee fails, the national committee will investigate and take action after 45 days.
If the aggrieved person files a case in the appropriate court, the case has to be disposed of within 90 days.
If he/she fails to do so within 90 days, the case will have to be extended by a maximum of another 15 days.
WHAT ARE DISCRIMINATORY ACTIONS?
The bill states that any person who engages in the following acts directly or indirectly on the pretext of religion, caste, ethnicity, language, age, gender, physical and mental state, place of birth, birth, occupation and social standing is considered discriminatory.
Preventing, controlling or restricting the entry or presence of any person or group in public places.
Deprived of access to government, semi-government, autonomous or private office services.
Restricting the production, sale or marketing of any product or service legally or imposing controls and restrictions on the acceptance of any benefit or product or service prescribed by law.
Refusal or obstruction to enroll a child in an educational institution due to the inability of parents to provide identification without proper reason or expulsion from educational institutions or any other form of discrimination.
Giving away a child to a particular person, group or institution without raising them in the family because of disability or being of the third gender, or obstructing family life on the pretext of disability.
Prohibit any person or group from taking up any legitimate occupation or job or conducting legitimate business.
Differentiation or restriction in leave, promotion, transfer, salary-allowance or benefits in government, semi-government, autonomous or private employment and compelling to resign.
Denial to renting out a house or place of residence to an individual or group or denying an application or imposing strict conditions.
Preventing an individual or group from entering his or her home, evicting or forcing him or her to leave the area or residence.
Rural arbitration or socially or religiously bringing a person or group together, socially boycotting or harassing.
Discriminatory treatment due to divorce or marital status.
Forbidding an individual or group to observe any religious rites or customs or forcing them to adopt and observe or abandon any other religion.
Preventing any person or group from legally acquiring and transferring property and depriving them of property rights or inheritance.
Creating barriers to participation in social, political, and cultural activities at the local and national levels.