The High Court of Bangladesh in a full verdict released in April directed police station officers-in-charge to record complaints about rapes and other sexual assaults on women and children without any delay.
The guidelines contained in the verdict would require the OCs to record the complaints no matter under which police station the incidents of rape and the other sexual assaults occurred.
The guidelines provide no scope to the OCs to refuse to record complaints on the plea that the crimes against women and children were committed in areas beyond their jurisdictions.
The verdict made it mandatory for the government, and the enforcement authorities including the OCs and the investigation agencies to follow 18 guidelines including immediate collection of samples for chemical or DNA tests.
The guidelines would require the investigation agencies to send the samples to Forensic Science Laboratory within 48 hours.
The guidelines prescribed punishments for the investigation officer for any delay on his or her part in taking the victim to the nearest hospital for medical examination and also delay in collecting the related medical report.
The guidelines would require the investigation officer to speedily complete the investigation.
On February 18, 2016, the short verdict was delivered by a bench of justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akando while disposing of a public interest litigation writ petition jointly filed by five human rights organizations.
They filed the writ petition as it took a 21-year old rape victim, a Garo girl to get her complaint recorded by a police station in the capital.
The victim moved from police station to police before the fourth one, the Bhatara police station recorded her complaint after 27 precious hours.
And the Uttara police station, the Khilket police station and Gulshan had wasted her 27 hours refusing to record her complaint that the incident occurred at a place beyond their jurisdictions.
The victim complained that she was abducted by the perpetrators in a microbus when she was waiting in front of the Jamuna Future Park, Baridhara at 9.30 PM on May 21, 2015 to return home on completion of her duty at the Jamuna Future Park.
And 90 minutes later, the offenders abandoned her at Jasimuddin Road, Uttara after raping her.
The guidelines requires OCs to immediately record each and every complaint against rape and other sexual assaults irrespective of the place of occurrence without any waste of time.
The guidelines require on duty officers at police station to inform the Victim Support Centre immediately after the complaint had been recorded.
The guidelines require the investigating officer accompanied by a female police officer to escort the victim for medical examination without any delay.
The guidelines require providing interpretation service to women or girls with disabilities becoming victims of rape or sexual assault.
The guideline made it mandatory to open dedicated online complaint service to enable the victims lodge complaints online.
The guidelines require the authorities to open a nationwide helpline with the number 10921 for lodging complaints online and publicizing the helpline in electronic as well as print media.
The guidelines require posting female police officers, not below constable, at each police station round the clock.
The guideline requires the on duty officer to call the female police officer to make the victim and her family members comfortable.
The guidelines require the police to maintain secrecy of the victim’s identity.
The guidelines require police stations to maintain a list of female social workers willing to provide assistance to victims.
The guidelines require recoding victims’ statements in the presence of a lawyer or friend nominated by her, or a social worker or protection officer.
The guidelines require making the victims aware that it was their fundamental right to get protection from the state and that it was the state’s duty to give any information she requests for on the issue.
The guidelines require opening offices in Metropolitan cities for providing the needed security and counseling as well as medical and DNA test support to the victim.
The court directed the respondents to follow the guidelines strictly until a law was enacted in this regard.
The court asked the office of Supreme Court Registrar General to send the verdict’s copies to the ministries of law, children and women affairs and home as well as the inspector general of police for taking necessary steps for the enforcement of the guidelines.
The wit petition was jointly filed by the Naripokkho, Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Ain o Salish Kendra and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust.
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