To distinguish a tort from a crime or a violation of contract, which are wrongs committed not only against the state but also against a person, a tort is defined as a civil wrong in English common law. To defend people’s rights and property as well as their social standing, the tort law has been established to protect them.
If a claimant suffers loss or harm, and it comprises psychological distress, financial losses, injuries, defamation, privacy, and many other things, people have enough scope to seek reward for the victim’s losses under tort law. In criminal law, the victim cannot get any compensation, but in a tort case, there is adequate scope to get back his damages. The prevalence of tort law is high in foreign countries. Victims may discover the stability of mind if the punishment of the accused person is confirmed, but ultimately, there is no solution to the victim’s loss. But the victim’s compensation is guaranteed through tort law. Tort law is also used in Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, only a very small number of tort suits have been decided. Namely,
Catherine Masud and Ors. v. Md. Kashed Mia and Ors. 70 DLR. In this case, Tareq Masud, along with 9 others, was returning from Manikganj to Dhaka in a microbus. On the Dhaka-Aricha highway, a clash took place between a microbus and a “Chuadanga Deluxe Paribahan”. As a result of the accident, five passengers died on the spot. Various issues were taken into consideration in that case. In this case, the driver and his helper were responsible for the accident because they slammed on the brakes, lost their license, and caused Tareq Masud’s family to lose a lot of money. Not only the driver and helper but also the owners of the bus company were vicariously libelled because of the master-servant relationship between the driver and the owner. In tort law, if someone works for someone, it is presumed that the person is doing the work for himself. In the case of Catherine Masud, on December 3, 2017, the High Court Division (HCD) awarded the victim’s family 4.6 crores in damages against the owner of the “Chudanga Deluxe” bus, the bus driver, and one insurance company.
In another suit, “Bangladesh Beverage Industries Ltd v. Rowsan Akhter (69 DLR 129). Mozammel Hossain Montu was a journalist, news reporter, broadcaster, and poet. While he was crossing the road after having purchased one packet of cigarettes on December 3, 1989, from the wrong side, a car hit Mr Montu and fled away. He was taken to the hospital but could not be rescued. Mr Montu was approximately 44 years old and had two minor sons, a wife, a brother, a sister, and In this case, two tort law principles were reflected. One is the “master-servant relationship” between the driver and the company, and another is “Nam qui facit per alium facit per se”, which means “an act through another is deemed in law to do himself”. Although the accident occurred while the driver was Bangladesh Beverage Company is also vicariously liable. Some issues considered by the judges
- The loss of conceivable learning
- The father’s affection and care were restrained.
- Loss of post-retirement earnings
- Loss of father’s will
- Damage from premature death.
By following these issues, the judges fixed up 2 (two) crore taka as compensation for the family of Montu Mia. Mainly, the servant acts on behalf of the master. In the case of Children’s Charity Bangladesh Foundation v. Bangladesh & ors. 5 CLR (HCD) (2017) The victim was a minor boy named Zihad, who was 4 years old. While playing in the Shahjahanpur Colony playground, he fell inside the 16-inch disclosed shaft, which was left renounced by Bangladesh Railway and WASA authorities. His body was pulled out by a group of volunteers, but after government agencies called off the rescue bid, the boy and the rescue authorities sent down cameras to see the condition of the boy, but the camera was ineffective. They did not take any productive steps to rescue him instantly. In this volunteer effort, the Children’s Charity Foundation Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) filed a writ petition before the court. On August 5, 2018, the Appellate Division ratified a High Court verdict that ordered Bangladesh Railway, Bangladesh Fire Service, and Civil Defense to pay Tk. 10 lakh as compensation to the victims’ families. (The Daily Star, August 7, 2018).
There is another established case which is British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) Company Ltd v. Begum Shamsun Nahar (66 DLR (AD) 80). In this case, the court found that the victim had been sexually harassed and that the company had not taken initiative to assist the victim. Shamsun Nahar, who was authorised as the “Lady Confidential Typist” of the BATB, In 1980, was the first permanent female employee of the company, and from the beginning, she experienced unsatisfactory attention from her two colleagues. Once, after opening the door of a washroom, the victim sought permission to use it and discovered Mr Ezaz Chowdhury, who was an employee of the company, in a very compromising position with a young married lady known to her and everybody else within the office. Due to this behaviour, she filed suit to claim damages in the sum of Tk. 2,50,038,000. The Supreme Court’s decision in BATB v. Begum, a case in which a woman was sexually harassed at work, is a turning point. Sexual harassment comes with psychological pressure, and the infliction of psychological anxiety is a good reason for criminalization, and it is easy to place tortious liabilities. No direct involvement of the maintenance or agent is necessary to establish sexual harassment, but mere consequences are enough. In this regard, the victim is entitled to compensatory damages not only for pain but also for suffering from sexual harassment. Therefore, along with criminalization, sexual harassment in the workplace should be considered a tort case.
In western countries, the law of torts has played a crucial role in providing compensation to an injured person. But in Bangladesh, there are some circumstances for unhurried development. For example, legal professionals would not advise their clients to file lawsuits in this tort branch. Instead, they would prefer to tell them about other options that are right for them. Most people have no idea about tort law because we are economically undeveloped and know little about our rights. Therefore, many violations of their rights do not get any justice and they do not know they can also file a civil suit for compensation. Tolerance is also a reasonable habit for slow development. In Bangladesh, most are economically unstable and in this regard, they are afraid of plugging suit. For filling out tort cases, the criteria are not equal to a normal case, and for this reason, they are not interested in tort law. Besides the problems of deprivation and illiteracy, another problem is that the judicial system of Bangladesh is very flawed. The court fee and advocate fee are very high in the court, and for this reason, the ordinary man is unable to bear them. Therefore, people who are poor cannot bear the judicial costs. There is no special tribunal for tort cases. To achieve justice under tort law, the victim should pay a huge amount of money in advance to the court. It is a lengthy process.
If the above dilemma can be solved, people’s interest in tort cases will increase in Bangladesh. The people of Bangladesh can discover their compensation through tort law.