Medical &Health

Writ seeks cancellation of Evidence Act provisions on rape victims’ character

A writ petition was submitted before the High Court on Sunday seeking abolition of two provisions of the Evidence Act, 1872, which allow raising questions about the character of rape victims who are usually women.

Lawyer Sara Hossain filed the petition on behalf of three rights organizations- Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Ain O Salish Kendra and Naripokkho before the HC bench of justice M Enayetur Rahim and Md Mostafizur Rahman.

The petition sought a rule on why section 155 (4) and 146 (3) of the Evidence Act will not be deemed unconstitutional and not be abolished, said Sara Hossain.

The lawyer said, “According to these sections woman who files complaint of rape and sexual harassment is generally presumed of immoral character and her character and background can be questioned and inquired in the court.”

Rights groups have been campaigning against these provisions for long, said Sara adding that they are now seeking intervention from the High Court.

She said the hearing on the petition is likely to be held next week.

Section 155(4) of the act says, “When a man is prosecuted for rape or an attempt to ravish, it may be shown that the prosecutrix was of generally immoral character.”

Meanwhile section 146 (3) says during cross examination a witness can be questioned to shake his credit, by injuring his character, although the answer to such questions might tend directly or indirectly to criminate him or might expose or tend directly or indirectly to expose him to a penalty or confiscation.

Source: United News of Bangladesh