Section of proving women as ‘bad character’ will be abolished: Law Minister

Senior Correspondent,, Dhaka
ছবি: সংগৃহীত

ছবি: সংগৃহীত

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Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Haque said the provisions of Section 155 (4) of the existing Evidence Act are against women's human rights. It has been proposed to repeal it which will prevent the disgrace of women.

He was speaking as the chief guest at a view exchange meeting at Hotel Intercontinental in the capital on Tuesday (October 26) to seek the views of all concerned to amend the Evidence Act of 1872 and make it more up-to-date.

The Law Minister said the Evidence Law enacted about 149 years ago is still effectively relevant. However, digitization is a new reality and in view of this reality there is a need to amend the Evidence Act. We must be careful in bringing such amendments.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we have been able to build a digital Bangladesh. The court of law is no exception. So in terms of the real situation we have taken the initiative to amend the Evidence Act.

He said the amendment was not intended to facilitate the Digital Security Act, but to facilitate the speedy disposal of justice by taking accurate evidence of the reality of globalization by facilitating all laws. During the last lockdown, new laws were enacted at the behest of the Prime Minister and the judicial process, like all other activities, was continued using the digital platform. The Evidence Act contains all the necessary provisions to ensure justice. Due to the reality and the demands of the time, some new provisions are being included in the said law.

Elaborating on various arguments, the Law Minister said that even if the Criminal Procedure is done in Bengali, the testimony law will be done in English. In his argument, he said the cabinet had already discussed the need to have some laws in English. After the enactment of various laws including the Evidence Act, it has been established in the form of precedent as explained by the judgments given by the court at different times.

Besides, the post-independence Presidential Decrees issued in English by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu still exist. If these laws, including the Evidence Act, are enacted anew in Bengali, the words used in the judgment will need to be reinterpreted. For that reason, it would be advisable to have the Evidence Act in English.

Mia Sepo, the UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, said the amendment of the Evidence Act was a commendable initiative in Bangladesh's justice system. The amendment will help in the development of human rights and will not repeat the disgrace of women by amending Section 155 (4) of the Evidence Act. Besides, this amendment will play a landmark role in the judicial process of Bangladesh. The United Nations will provide all possible assistance for the development of the justice system in Bangladesh.

The meeting was chaired by Secretary of the Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs  Moinul Kabir, Attorney General Abu Mohammad Amin Uddin, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Nasima Begum, Secretary of the Law and Justice Golam Sawar, Registrar General of the Supreme Court Ali Akbar, Dhaka District and Sessions Judge AHM Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan, Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge KM Imrul Kayes, Additional Inspector General of Police (CID) Barrister Mahbubur Rahman, DIG of Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) Banaj Kumar Majumdar, Metropolitan Session Judges’ court's public prosecutor Abdullah Abu and others expressed their views on the law.