Decided on May 14,2009

Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (Bnwla) Appellant
Bangladesh Respondents


SYED MAHMUD HOSSAIN J. - (1.) In this application under Article 102 of the Constitution of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, a Rule Nisi was issued calling upon the respondents to show cause as to why the respondents failed to adopt guidelines, or policy or enact proper legislations to address the issue of abuse of sexual harassment for protecting and safeguarding the rights of the women and girl children at work place, educational institutions/universities and other places wherever necessary which has been regularly reported in the media, public and other places.
(2.) The facts leading to the issuance of the Rule, in brief, are: Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) was formed in 1979 by a group of women lawyers with an aim and objective to empower the women and children of their rights.
(3.) At present there are no legislative provisions to address sexual harassment of women and girl children and in the absence of the legislative provisions the need to find out an effective and/or alternative mechanism to cater the need is an urgent social imperative. On 7 July, 2008 mvgvwRK cwZiva KwgwU, (Social Resistance Committee), a platform of 47 right based organizations such as the petitioner, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Ain-O-Shalish Kendra, Bangladesh Mahila Samity arranged a press conference on the issue and put in sharp focus the acuteness of the problem and highlighted how the sexual harassment was taking place in different organizations and institutions. The Committee at the press conference presented a statistics showing 333 incidents of repressions on women from January to June 2008. The Committee also adopted seven resolutions including framing of guidelines to stop sexual harassment and implementation thereof at all educational institutions and universities. On 1.8.2008, The Daily Star brought out in its weekly magazine, a front page story regarding campus violence on sexual harassment. The article stated that in the absence of any formal structure of complaint hearing many Bangladesh students keep incidents of sexual harassment to themselves out of the necessity to avoid social stigma.;

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