Law and Legislation

Bangladesh High Court gives decision and directive on sexual harassment guideline to serve as 'law' until real law enacted

The Judgement on laying down guidelines on Sexual Harassment declared by the Honorable Court on 14 May, 2009.

An HC bench comprised of Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Quamrul Islam Siddiqui came up with the guidelines, directive and ruling in its verdict upon a writ petition filed as public interest litigation by Salma Ali, Executive Director of Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers Association (BNWLA). Advocate Fawzia Karim Feroze, President, BNWLA, conducted the case. A significant feature of the HC action is that its guidelines will be treated as law until a law relating to prevention of sexual harassment is in place.

This is important, for it allows no time gap to be there between the directives coming into effect and the actual framing and promulgation of a law. Even more encouraging, the HC's directive to the authorities regarding the formation of five-member harassment complaint committees, to be headed by a woman, at every workplace and organisation means that sexual harassment of the kind that has been going on for years could now finally be reined in. Since harassment of women and children is taking place at every workplace and institution including universities across the country, the BNWLA has been fighting against this for about 10 years.

We believe that the HC verdict an epoch-making one and will remain as a milestone in the history of judiciary for protecting women from sexual harassment. The verdict will play a vital role in creating public awareness about any kind of harassment of women.

I take this opportunity to thank you all for supporting us in our cause and extending your assistance in conducting the case.

Source : Salma Ali, Executive Director

Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers' Association (BNWLA)

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When: 7/2/2014

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