BANGLADESH – Penal Code on abortion violates constitutional rights to life, body, privacy, liberty and freedom of choice
A petition was filed by Syeda Nasrin, a Supreme Court lawyer, who argued that sections of the British colonial-era Penal Code contradict articles of Bangladesh’s Constitution. She said the Penal Code violated constitutional rights to life, body, privacy, liberty and freedom of choice, and that giving birth to a child and accepting motherhood constitute essential parts of these rights.
In response, the High Court bench of judges Tariq-ul-Hakim and SM Kuddus Zaman, issued a ruling on 18 August 2020 asking why abortion-related sections in the Penal Code of 1860 should not be declared illegal as they conflict with fundamental rights guaranteed in Bangladesh’s 1972 constitution.
The Court issued the ruling to the Secretary of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and the Registrar of the Supreme Court and asked to them respond for further deliberations. This has triggered a fresh debate over abortion in a country that has permitted menstrual regulation for many years without altering the law on abortion.
SOURCE: UCA News, 24 August 2020 ; PHOTO: Dr Syeda Nasrin,