In existing real scenario of Bangladesh, it is so difficult to lodge a complaint and prove the allegation on torture, perpetrated by law and security personnel of the country. Article 35 (5) of Constitution of the People Republic of Bangladesh strictly prohibits not only torture but also all form of cruel behavior, punishment or treatment.
But section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. P.C) of Bangladesh provides safeguard to the countries officials who are restored to violence in their official capacity when demanded by circumstances.
The obstacle to lodge a complaint against law and other security personnel begins from the initial stage of filing case. When the victim tries to loge a First Information Report (FIR) against the law and security personnel with the concerned police station, the duty officer denies straight away registering the FIR.
Similarly, when the victims of torture try to lodge a complaint with the concerned court, it is always denied by the court excusing the mandatory section 197 of Criminal Procedure Code, which pre-sanctions the government to bring allegation against the government servant with the court.
Most of the magistrates of in criminal court are bogged down as they are not being up to date about the high court rule, order or judgment passed on different problems. They do not have the knowledge that the high court’s ruling dismissed the old notion on the old usages of the Cr.P.C section 197.
Most of the practicing lawyers are also not appropriately trained or have enough knowledge or confidence to lodge a complaint against the law and security personnel. They do not know that they can lodge case against perpetrators (law and security personnel). Although some of the lawyer did hear about possibility to lodge complaint against the doers, they do not have practical experience.
At the case of Rokeya Begum Vs Shafikur Rahman , reported on 2 BCR page no. 04 where the High Court Division of Supreme Court has issued the following rule: “ No sanction under section 197 of Criminal Procedure Code is necessary for taking cognizance of the offence alleged in the case, even if the police officer and involved police constable committed the offence while setting or purporting to act in the discharge of official duty. Protection of section 197 is not available to accused police officials as available to other public servants.”
Question of compulsory bribing is another pre condition from police side which leads the case ending up in a fiasco. Again there has been witness and complainant intimidation by both the law and security personnel and influential political leaders. Some of the filing lawyers (advocate of the victim) are being influenced by the perpetrators. Sometime the filing lawyer develops ill connection with the perpetrators.
The next point of hurdles for providing the case against perpetrators is the police himself. With the rule of procedure victim usually lodge complaints against law and security personnel in the court of law, the incumbent Magistrate sent this case to police official for investigation and asked him to submit the report in the court within a stipulated time.
It is usually seen that the responsible investigating officer submits a distorted or concocted report to the concerned court. That is one of the most important reasons why victims of torture are not getting justice in Bangladesh.
People in Bangladesh ordinary see that police are given bribery by the citizens either voluntarily or forcefully (except for few) is legal. Besides that, we can see that the police are also providing bribery to the complainant. Victims who want justice through the courts, the accused perpetrators find a way to cool down the complainant through bribery.
The perpetrators also try to intimidate the complainant to withdraw the case by threatening and also implicating with series of false cases. Moreover, lengthy, time consuming, complicated, expensive court proceeding, difficulties in collecting medical evidence, lack of co-operation from civil society and elites of the community with the lawyer is also creating obstacle to get justice of torture victim.
The Writer is a Human Rights Defender, Lawyer & Journalist; Founding Secretary General of JusticeMakers Bangladesh
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Blog: www.shahanur.blogspot.com
BDST: 1800 HRS, JAN 29, 2013
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