a) Case Study 1: Arti’s struggle for compensation
Arti Bali, 50, who lives in a village in Noakhali, is a domestic worker. Her son Mohan is an apprentice at a hair salon in the local market. The family’s total monthly income is around BDT 5,000.
In October 2017, around 12:00 pm one day, Mohan and a neighbour, Bikash, 20, were going to the market together. They started an argument, and Bikash accused Mohan of spitting on him and began to beat him up badly. Mohan needed to get treatment for his wounds which cost BDT 3,000. Arti struggled to bear these costs with the help of relatives and neighbours. It took more than ten days for Mohan to regain his health. Having no idea about legal remedies or court procedures and also lacking the financial means, Arti was unable to take any legal steps. Mohan’s uncle who has a shop in the local market learnt about the Village Court through activities such as video shows and rallies which BLAST organised (under a government project on Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh). He informed Arti about this Court and she went to file a case there. She paid a fee of BDT 10 and filed a case within the week against Bikash, seeking BDT 3,000 as compensation.
On receiving a summons, Bikash appeared in the Village Court at the scheduled time. In the presence of the applicant and the Chairman, he acknowledged the incident, apologised and paid damages of BDT 3,000 while promising not to repeat this action in the future. Arti’s case was settled in just five days. Arti used the money she received as damages to repay her debt and bear her day-to-day expenses. The total expense of conducting the case including transportation costs was BDT 90.