Reforms of legal system a must to check incidence of rape

Published : 22 May 2019 05:51 PM | Updated : 05 Sep 2020 04:52 AM

When newspaper reaches in the morning to a reader who has been anxiously waiting for it just to know what happened around him during the previous 24 hours. He has to be horrified when he finds at least half a dozen of rapes have been committed by the criminals. These ugly incidents expose to us what a heinous society we have been living in.

Could anybody think about that a 6-year girl has been raped by a 40-year-old criminal, 2-year twins have been raped by 12-year-old teen and a university student has been burnt down because her teacher tortured her to conceal the secret crimes that he committed to her students? 

How do we go to explain when an on duty nurse during the day long humanitarian job in a hospital is raped by doctor or male nurse? How do we evaluate the situation when we see that a lady passenger who is travelling in a launch is brought to cabin and gang raped by the cabin crews? What is the fault of a newly married woman who was raped by her cousin in absence of her husband who has gone abroad just to build up the future of his family. 

Forget about the incidents of thousands of rape that have been committed in different areas of the country. If such incidents took place in the educational institutions obviously that gave us alarming messages to the society. Are girls’ students secured there? Are they safe in education institutions or even madrassas where the students are taught religion, ethics? The recent scandalous incidents taken place in madrasas are really alarming. 

Even the principals do not spare their students. Nusrat is the latest example. She was burnt alive for expressing the kind of sexual assaults by the principal. She was killed brutally by a dozen of killers engaged by the principal. The brutal way of killing Nusrat is really alarming. Nusrat had lodged a criminal case against the principal. In retaliation, the principal chalked out a plan to kill her brutally. His colleagues and hired criminals tied up her body and spread kerosin over her entire body and burnt her alive. What kind of brutality is this?

Who are being raped? What is happening in the university? Even the teachers do not spare the students. The kind of incidents that happens now and then and the reasons if allowed to be expressed, people will come to know the reality. There are allegations that the student obtained first class in lieu of sex with teachers. It is said that teacher failing to have a sexual relation with his student, destroyed her career giving 3rd class.

What is there in police services? The lady constables are being molested by their colleagues and bosses, even the lady police inspectors are lodging complain of such harassment when on duty with their bosses. 

The country is independent and
 the nature of crime has changed

 radically, laws have to be framed

 keeping in mind the objective

reality of the society

Hardly a deputy to a senior officer could carry on duty safely while working with her boss. The chief of the establishment while recruiting the lady staff consider beauty as legibility, but not her experience in the trade. Even at the times of appointment assurance has to be given to cooperate as desired by the employer. There are allegations by the lady staffers against their employers for disturbing their normal life. Even a Hafez having the holy Quran in his memory do not hesitate to resort to rape.

The situation in public buses is worse. The lady passengers in a bus are no more secured as the drivers and helpers sometimes abuse them. There are newspapers reports that female passengers are raped in the bus and then thrown under the wheels of a speedy bus. It has become impossible for a lady to travel in a bus at night due to security reason.

Not that nothing has been done. There are laws and regulations. Punitive measures are being taken. There are arrests for committing such crimes like rape. But the unabated sex crimes have proved that those actions are not adequate to stop such crimes. There have been so many incidents of rapes being committed by the teachers of madrasas. Dozens of rapes are reported almost every day. The situation is so grave that the people in general have lost their faith on the law enforcers and judiciary. Many feel that the loopholes in laws and judgment are primarily responsible for not ensuring stringent punishment to the criminals.

If a rape and murder case take several months or even a year to get judgment and another six months to execute punishment the peoples’ desire to get justice remain unfulfilled. The demand is to hold trial in a month and implement within a week so that there is fear among the wrong doers. The way trial of such cases is held and the long span of time spent for judgment, liquidates the urgency of the trial. The existing legal system, procedure and execution of punishment order need to be reformed in keeping the purpose of the trial in mind. To deal with rape cases we need special laws and extraordinary procedure.

In fact, many colonial laws are still in vogue. In those days, the purpose of the laws and the judiciary was to serve the interest of the colonial power and not to correct the society or to bring about a change in the standard of morality. Since the country is independent and the nature of crime has changed radically, laws have to be framed keeping in mind the objective reality of the society. Yet, it is not enough even to frame stringent laws; the execution has to be rapid and pragmatic. Change in the social behavioral pattern has changed the nature of crime. The law enforcers need to be able to adapt to it.  


Dr S A Malek is former political adviser to the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament and general secretary of Bangabandhu Parishad and Columnist.