In a landmark judgement, Bangladesh High Court has issued a set of guidelines defining "sexual misdemeanours", to prevent any kind of molestation of women, girls and children at their workplaces, educational institutions and other public areas.
A High Court bench pronounced the verdict on a public interest litigation writ filed by the Bangladesh Jatiya Mahila Ainjibi Samity and directed the government to make a law on the basis of the guidelines, and ruled that the guidelines will be treated as a law until the law is enacted.
The bench comprising judges Mahmud Hossain and Quamrul Islam Siddiqui issued the directives yesterday that demanded installation of complaint centres headed by women, to prevent sexual harassment of women and girls at educational institutions, offices, factories and other workplaces and ruled that the identity of the accused and complainant could not be disclosed until the allegations were proved.
According to the verdict, any kind of provocation through phone calls or e-mail, lewd gestures, showing of pornography, lurid stares, physical contact or molestation, stalking, vulgar sounds or any display of a derogatory nature will be tantamount to sexual misdemeanour.
Disturbing women and children through letters, e-mails, SMS, writings on walls, benches, tables, notice boards and threatening or pressing them to make sexual relations are sexual harassment, the lawyers said quoting the judgement.