The High Court's ruling that a student can fill up either of the three sections for name of father, mother or legal guardian in the public examination forms is not only a significant step, but also a giant leap to eliminate gender discrimination. Earlier, both the parents' name had to be on the form. We welcome this historic verdict.
Prothom Alo reported on 28 March 2007 titiled 'Girl’s study stopped as father's identity unknown'. Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Bangladesh Mahila Parishad and Naripokkho filed a writ in the High Court in 2009 attaching the report, the final verdict of which was announced on 24 January. High Court bench comprising justice Naima Haider and Khairul Alam rendered the verdict after the final hearing of the writ. Earlier, however, the court had issued an order that year.
Expressing content, honorary executive director of BLAST Sara Hossain told Prothom Alo that this judgment of the High Court is significant to eliminate sexual discrimination and advance the recognition of every person's right to identity and education. She also termed it as the proper implementation to ensure gender equality and to eliminate discrimination against women as promised in the constitution.
Referring to the verdict, deputy attorney general Amit Dasgupta said, when the writ was filed, it was mandatory to write the father's name in the education form. Later the mother's name had to be mentioned too. Mentioning only father's name as guardian in the form has been declared unconstitutional. The High Court has directed to add the section for father or mother or legal guardian names in all the education forms. At present the new rule has a provision to mention either the name of father or mother while filling the existing forms.
We believe this judgment of the High Court is a fitting answer to the patriarchal domination perpetuating in the society for ages. Through this, as the sole right of the mother has been recognized as the guardian of the child in the absence of the father, it is expected to play a role in ensuring equality between men and women as described in the constitution.
Following this verdict, we congratulate the student of Thakurgaon, who stood against the patriarchal system. In an interview given to Prothom Alo, she said, “I know who my father is. Yet I could not put his name in the registration form as he did not recognise my mother and me as his family.” We do not know where she is now. Her study got stopped due to the patriarchal system. The state should find her and award her compensation.
We hope no one else's exam will be stopped for not writing the father's name after the court's verdict. If such discriminatory provisions remain in other areas of the society, it is important to end them too. We would like to thank all the organisations and individuals who actively participated in the legal battle in this case, including BLAST, Mahila Parishad and Naripokkho.
We are happy that Prothom Alo could play a small role in this landmark event. We appreciate HC’s verdict recognising mother's legal rights