The High Court issued a rule upon the government to explain as to why three sections of regarding punishment in the Prevention of Women and Children Repression Act 2000 should not be declared unconstitutional.
The three sections – 9(1), 9(4) (Ka) and 11(Ka) – keep only one option of punishment for the judges.
Under the section 9(1), life term rigorous imprisonment is the only punishment for rape, under the section 9(4) (Ka), life term rigorous imprisonment is the only punishment for murder after rape or attempt to injure after rape, petitioner's lawyer Shishir Manir said.
Besides, death sentence is the only punishment for murder over dowry and life term rigorous imprisonment for attempting to death over dowry under the section 11(Ka).
Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman issued the rule on Tuesday after hearing of a writ filed challenging the legality of the three sections of the act.
Two secretaries of the Law Ministry, secretary of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and others concerned were asked to respond to the rule within four weeks.
Lawyer Shishir Manir moved for the writ petition while Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder represented the state in the courtroom.
Shishir Manir said the only one option of punishment that fixed under the 9(1), 9(4) (Ka) and 11(Ka) of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000 is violation of the Constitution.
The three sections keep only one option of punishment for the judges which is against judiciary's independence and the basic structure of the Constitution, he added.
The lawyer also said, "When only one punishment is mentioned in a law, then it undermines jurisdiction of the judiciary."
Challenging the legality of the three sections of the act, 10 lawyers, including Shishir Manir, filed the writ with the High Court.