It is indeed a sad commentary on our legal system that women and children still cry out for justice in Bangladesh. It is a sadder reflection that even now an affected group has to project its plight through roundtables and seminars. And one such seminar organised recently by an alliance fighting to end violence against women brings out the abject unconcern of the state towards women who constitute 50 percent of the population. A case in point here is the trial of the murder of an unfortunate girl called Rishi, a school student. And the raft of reasons for this are something that are not unknown to us.
Skewed legal procedures, disregard for orders stipulating ways to deal with cases of violence against women, incompetent public prosecutors, warped recording of cases and even more twisted investigation process—more because of money and political influence—among other shortcomings, cause a gross miscarriage of justice. Add to this the various ploys that the defense uses to hide truths and prolong trial procedures. We have commented continually on this aspect but very little progress, if at all, has been visible.
What is needed is more money to establish more courts to expediate the trial process. Errant investigating officers must be treated as an abettor of the crime and dealt with as such, and corruption in the system should be firmly curbed. That, of course, requires political will; one cannot restate more strongly that there is an abject lack of it at the moment. Does not a legal system that fails to deliver justice to women demand a complete overhaul?