A parliamentary body has hinted that the Anti-Discrimination Bill may go through some changes, as the proposed law aimed at preventing all forms of discrimination in light of the Constitution raised several concerns among the human rights activists and civil society members.
The proposed law was discussed at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs on Wednesday, as the committee members advocated changing the name of the bill to "Discrimination Prevention Bill" and dropping the law minister from leading a discrimination monitoring committee.
"We will discuss all the proposals in detail. I think some changes might be carried out," said Md Shahiduzzaman Sarker, chairman of the Standing Committee on the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
Shahiduzzaman Sarker, who is also a member of the parliament, said, "We need one more meeting. After that, we will be able to finalise the recommendations."
Shameem Haider Patwary, a member of the committee and also a lawmaker, said they talked about various shortcomings of the proposed law Wednesday.
"Everyone has agreed to change the name of the bill. Besides, the law minister himself has said that someone else should lead the monitoring committee to be formed to prevent discriminatory practices," he told The Business Standard.
Shameem Haider Patwary said the bill will be finalised after addressing the shortcomings flagged by the human rights activists.
Law Minister Anisul Huq placed the "Anti-Discrimination Bill" in parliament on 5 April 2022. Later, the bill was sent to the parliamentary committee and has been asked to submit its report before the House within 30 days.
Human rights activists have been claiming that the proposed law might miss its aim to ensure dignity and equal rights for every citizen of the country unless the shortcomings are scrutinised and corrected.
The activists stated the law will not work due to several flawed provisions, although its intentions are good.
They have been pressing the government to ensure equal treatment and civil rights to marginalised groups such as the Dalit community, minorities, the disabled and the transgender people.
They said some provisions in the proposed law are incomplete, while others cannot provide any effective remedy to the marginalised people. Besides, the process of legal remedy in the proposed law is lengthy.
The parliamentary committee meeting was attended by Law Minister Anisul Huq, Member of the Parliament Md Abdul Majid Khan, Member of the Parliament Gloria Jharna Sarker, Member of the Parliament Begum Rumeen Farhana, Member of the Parliament Selim Altaf George and Member of the Parliament Khodeza Nasreen Akhter Hossain.