Case Number: Writ Petition No 7758 of 2020
Date of filing: 2020/11/01
2. BRAC HRLS
3. Manusher Jonno Foundation
2. Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs
3. Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs
4. Inspector General of Police1
It was brought to BLAST’s notice through different news reports that a fourteen year old girl from Tangail died due to excessive genital bleeding after being admitted at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). The reports further stated that on 20 September 2020, she was married to a man aged 34/35 an expatriate working in the United Arab Emirates, and that she had been bleeding from the first night of her marriage. Nevertheless, the husband reportedly continued to have intercourse with her, disregarding her injuries, while her in-laws sought treatment for her from a village doctor (kabiraj), and failed to provide her with proper medical treatment until 22 October 2020, by which time it was already too late. The girl died on 25 October 2020, at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
Further to the 10-point demand issued by the Rape Law Reform Coalition on Rape Law Reform Now and in light of the tragic death of this child bride and considering the National Survey on Violence Against Women (2015) conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), which found that 27.3 percent of ever-married women experienced sexual violence perpetrated by their husbands during their lifetime, including forced sexual intercourse; four human rights organization named BLAST, BRAC, Naripokkho and Manusher Jonno Foundation filed this writ petition seeking full criminalisation of marital rape.
In the petition, it is argued that the Exception to Section 375, Section 376 of the Penal Code, 1860 and the Explanation to Section 9(1) of the Nari o Shishu Nirjaton Domon Ain 2000 to the extent that they provide an exception to the offence of rape, in the case of married women and girls (unless they are aged under sixteen) are discriminatory on the basis of gender, and in particular of marital status, and violate the rights of married women and girls as guaranteed under Articles 27,28, 31, 32 and 35(5) of the Constitution.
Rule Nisi is issued calling upon the Respondents to show cause as to why the exception clasue to section 375 of the Penal Code 1860 read together with the words “unless the women raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age” as contained in Section 376 of the Penal Code and reference to “Bibaho Bondhon Byatito” in Section 9 (1) of the Nari-O-Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain, 2000 (Act No XX of 2000) should not be declared to be void, being discriminatory, and in violation of the fundamental rights of married women and girls under Articles 27, 28, 31, 32 and 35(5) of the Constitution and why the Respondents should not be directed to take necessary action to repeal the exception clause to section 375 of the Penal Code 1860 and to amend the term “Bibaho Bondhon Byatito” from the explanation clause of section 9 (1) of the Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain 2000 and to delete the term ‘and is not under twelve years of age’ from Section 376 of the Penal Code and/or pass such other or further order or orders as to this court may seem fit and proper.
The Rule is made returnable within 4 weeks.
Mr. Justice Mohi Uddin
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Area of law
Access to Justice,
2. Penal Code 1860
3. Nari o Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain 2000 (as amended in 2003 and 2020)