week your advocate is M. Moazzam Husain of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
His professional interests include civil law, criminal law and constitutional
My hushand Anil Barua was working in Bangladesh Navy Dockyard as skilled
grade labourer I at Chittagong. One day being too tiered he was taking
rest during working hour. The shift in-charge seeing him sitting, got
angry and they exchanged hot words. Later on the matter was informed
to higher authority. Thereafter he was forcefully taken to the hospital
verbally declaring him as psyche patient and kept him confined in the
navy hospital for 4/5 months till he became total insane and sacked
him from the job making a so called medical board and declared him invalid
for any kind of job. My husband is now living like a dead man. I have
six children. I took a job as aya for livelihood. But they ruined his
life for ever as well as our family. My questions are : A. Was the medical
board legal in view of medical jurisprudence? B. Can we bring any legal
action those doctors and officers for their heinous act? C. They are
using psychiatrists and doctors as a tool of punishing employees, if
they wish to do so, how this can be stopped? D. Now a days defense doctors
are using their position as a tool to make normal people insane, is
there any legal way to punish these people in civil or criminal law?
Please show legal path.
Madhuri Datta, Housing Estate, Chittagong.
Advocate: Substance of your allegation is- your husband is
a civilian and was working in the Navy dockyard Chittagong as a graded
labourer. Following an altercation with his Shift-in-Charge penal actions
were taken against him by the Officer-in-Charge who also felt insulted
by your husband's conduct. The whole thing arose out of slang used against
your husband by his Sift-in-Charge reacted to by him. Your husband for
that matter any conscientious being may react to the slanging by anybody
whoever he may be. Slang, colloquialism are something which gradually
emerge into use in different local groups, professional and age groups,
people of the same workplace etc. Not all slang expressions refer to
insult or contempt. They are of everyday use in almost every corner
of a country and true of the entire world. One living and working in
such a situation must be tuned and needs not be hypersensitive to the
prevailing slang-culture which is otherwise innocent. But that does
not mean that intentional, well calculated and persistent slanging would
not be taken exception of.
Now the problem
that has arisen is- your husband is taken to the Navy hospital and is
being treated as a mental patient. As it transpires in the decision
leading to hospitalisation there are involvement of the higher officers
of the Navy aided by the opinion of psychiatrist and a medical board.
Nothing sounds or looks unusual or malicious. But it is your conviction
as the wife of the patient that the whole thing has arisen out of a
conspiracy by the people in the Navy who matter in the helm of affairs.
Your further claim is your husband is a man of sound mind and physique.
The hospitalisation, medical board etc. are arraigned drama designed
to victimise your husband and your mind has traveled to the extent of
belief that your husband is being tortured and administered with such
drugs as to render him total insane so that he loses his eligibility
for any other job in future. It is a serious thing to apprehend.
So far as I could
gather from your words, I am afraid, I cannot fully share your concern.
The people involved in the hospitalisation and treatment of your husband
are responsible persons having their professional attainments and standing.
They would be most unlikely to be prevailed upon by an ill-disposed
Sift-in- Charge of the Dockyard. Logically and realistically your concern
seems to be ill-founded.
Right or wrong you
believe that your husband is caught in a vicious circle and his life
is at stake. The anxious questions that cropped up from your troubled
mind are whether the Medical Board is legal? If not, what are the legal
measures that can be taken against those doctors and officers of the
Navy? How this kind of vicious underhand practices to punish a malcontent
be stopped? Is there any way to punish these people in civil and criminal
Well, if there is
really any such vicious practices prevailing anywhere in the Navy or
anywhere in the armed forces, so to say, can the persons perpetrate
the crime with impunity? The simple answer is , 'No'. Discipline in
our armed forces are regulated by stringent provisions of law. So far
as the Navy is concerned, the Navy Ordinace,1961, provides for punishment
of any person subject to the law, guilty of disgraceful conduct of a
cruel, indecent or unnatural kind. Even officers may be punished for
any conduct unbecoming of his position and the character expected of
him. For civil offences committed by any member of the Navy the offender
is triable by a naval tribunal and punishable with imprisonment of different
terms including the capital punishment. Moreover, as in your case, that
is, the offence of torture and malicious application of harmful drugs
on a civilian, complaint may be made in a competent court of Magistrate
for initiating a proceeding against the members of the Navy responsible
for the alleged offences. This will not, however, take away your right
to sue them for damages caused to the body and mind of your husband.
Please have consultation with your family, friends and relatives and
come to a well-considered decision as to whether you need to go for
action. If so, take help of a good lawyer and proceed according as he