Wednesday, 26 January 2011

HC ask to enact victim, witness protection act

The High Court yesterday (January 26) ruled that the term 'sexual harassment' would be used instead of 'eve teasing' from now saying that importance of the crimes lessens at the term eve teasing.

Declaring 'stalking' against girls and women illegal, the HC asked the government to define its meaning in view of the current context, said concerned lawyer.

A bench of the HC comprising Justice Md Imman Ali and Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif passed the order upon a Writ petition filed by Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) on November 2 last year.

The HC directed the government to enact a 'victim and witness protection act' to secure the victims and the witness of sexual harassment cases.

The government was also directed to bring some changes to the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act including the crimes related to stalking for ensuring punishment for the stalkers under this act.

The bench asked to form a separate cells at all police stations to record and deal with the sexual crimes. The cells have to submit reports each month to the concerned district committee for further course of action on the crimes, .
The court stated that harassing the girls and women through SMS, MMS, email and phone would be considered as sexual harassment.

The court directed the government to take necessary measures against previous incidents of sexual harassment.

The  HC directed the government to monitor the cyber cafes across the country so that nobody under 18 years cannot use the cafes.

All the cyber cafes have to have registration. Users of the cyber cafes have to show their identity cards to the cafes' authorities, who have to preserve their name and addresses. The cafes authorities will record how much time and what type of sites the users browse, petitioner's lawyer Fahima Nasrin Munni quoting the HC ruling said.

The ruling over cyber cafes was passed in a view to prevent the growing youths to be involved in obscenity and immorality that encouraged them to be stalkers, said the lawyer.

Advocate Fahima Nasrin told journalists that the directive would be considered as law according to the Article 111 of the Constitution until the government don't pass an act on the matter.

She told journalists that the HC ruling would help to ensure protection of girls and women from sexual harassment.

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