Checking discri-mination, legally

Bangladesh on 24 June 2014
Location : Bangladesh | Source : Daily Star. Image Source: flickr user IRRi

The Law Commission has asked the government to enact measures against discrimination as it is in practice against certain sections of the population. On the face of it, the recommendation is welcome because there are a host of individuals who remain outside the parameters of inclusive society because it is unable or unwilling to accept the less fortunate ones as equals.

Now that there is talk of a law against discrimination, let it be one that takes into account every form of ill-treatment. But the enactment of such a law presupposes seriousness on the part of the authorities in dealing with the issue. Where laws are concerned we have plenty of them. What we do not have is implementation because of structural weaknesses. Let not a similar malady come with this talk of an anti-discrimination law.

There is something else. The necessity of such a law means that a careful study of social conditions and a clear delineation of the discrimination practised in society are in order. And that study must be conducted by a range of experts who are qualified to offer their inputs into the making of such a law. But there is a caveat as well, which is that no attempts should be made to dilute the provisions of the proposed law, that clarity underlines the law and that a mechanism be in place for the effective implementation of the law as well as handling any violation of it. Pious intentions must not be undermined by hypocrisy or bureaucracy or a law that ends up not being the law we have looked forward to.

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