“Check my mail”
A friend forwarded this report (original link here). Thinking it’s another bureaucratic report on the state of things related to violence against women (VAW), and after skimming through the initial pages, he told me to go over the hypothesis. I’m going to summarize the report here [I’m not a lawyer, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless]:
So basically Bangladesh has had this law passed in 2000 called the Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain 2000 ( Prevention of Oppression against Women and Children Act 2000), which was an amendment to the Nari-o-Shishu Nirjatan Daman (Bishesh Bidhan) Ain 1995 [an earlier version of the act – Women and Children Repression Prevention (Special) Act 1995] and they found out that of all the cases that were filed under this act, that the number of convictions from these cases were “abysmally” low (less than 1% conviction rate). Of course we would’t want to make laws and have them not work effectively. Here’s a diagram to give you an idea:
A number of hypotheses were proposed for the observation, namely lack of proper and
adequate evidence, weak presentation of the prosecution case, technicalities of law, harshness of law, filing of false [emphasis mine], weak police investigation, out of court settlement, and case backlog.
Long story short; guess what the top reason was for the low conviction rate? I won’t bore you with details (you can read the whole paper for that) but lo and behold:
I don’t know about you but that seems like a red flag. Of course, this may just be a limited sample but it helps to think about what the results are saying. Granted, we want our laws to be robust and effective, but this surprise and subsequent theories as to why it is as such is what’s interesting.
The report then goes into detail about the various reasons, but most telling is the section exploring instances of ‘filing false cases’:
“… the findings of the tribunal visits reveal that most of the cases filed under this Act are
false and fabricated. These cases are filed to take revenge out of personal enmity or to satisfy proprietary interest or to get redress for other grievance against the accused.”
OK, so basically any and every women can accuse you just because of a perceived slight and/or personal agenda. Not a very good use of a legal tool in my (non-legal) opinion.
What can be more insidious is organisations with an agenda that can falsely accuse someone purely out of over-zealousness, with an example that demonstrably:
“… raises alarm on one hand in respect of filing of false cases and over-sympathy of the human rights activists, low enforcing agency and court towards the victim, on the other. In this case, the […] Tribunal convicted the accused (mother-in-law and husband of the victim) with death sentence solely on the basis a newspaper report. The prosecution case, initiated by a human rights organization made up a case of murdering the wife with acid by the husband and mother-in-law whereas the victim died due to catching of fire while she was cooking. Even the mother and sister of the victim denied the allegation of the murder during examination at the tribunal and were declared hostile witness.”
I wonder what the human rights organization were thinking when they filed the case on behalf of the victim, just from reading a newspaper report. I’m no lawyer, but my first hunch would be to check out if the story were true informally with the relatives (simple enough task to do even if sensitive). We’ll never know unless we ask.
Which brings me to the title of the post; from what I’ve read in the report, it seems to me that there is no penalty whatsoever for false filing of incidents under the VAW act(s) of Bangladesh. Not only is it a great disservice to the person(s) accused, it’s an insult to true victims who genuinely need all the help in getting justice while we wonder why our legal system is overburdened.
Keep in mind that this study was funded by the UNDP. We’ll comment on that in other posts in the future.
Of course, if we are to read about this in the news, you get ‘gems’ like this:
“Commenting on the findings, eminent jurist Shahdeen Malik, director of BRAC’s Law School, questioned whether the filing of false cases was a reflection of the patriarchal society.”
So are we leaving logic and reasoning and going into feminist territory and blaming the ‘patriarchy’ now? How very ‘astute’ of our legal scholars.
Then again, it’s all part of the blue pill matrix so not really surprising.
I’ll leave you with my friends response as I realized the ‘truth’:
“Yup – interesting eh!”
“No one talk about this”
Let’s talk about this in comments below.