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Forgery goes unabated

  • Published at 06:23 pm May 14th, 2014
Forgery goes unabated

A news piece caught my eye roughly a week back – a man, lacking any medical qualifications and having almost no training, began performing medical procedures on patients whilst accepting money for his services. The amusing bit is that he actually got away with it for quite a while, conducting serious surgeries and performing other medical services on patients who came to him for assistance.

This made me wonder – how did someone in such a position get away with it for so long? Also, why would someone knowingly go to such a person to receive medical treatment, when he did not have any of the requisite medical qualifications or the appropriate training? The answer is shockingly simple – they didn’t know.

Let’s face it: compliance and verification is a tricky process in Bangladesh.  Of course, Nilkhet isn’t helping much either. It’s an open secret that any document you want made or counterfeited, can be done so over there, for a comparatively minimum price. Of course, whilst I find it reassuring that I can easily call myself an architect or an engineer by virtue of a forged certificate from Nilkhet, I’m also secure in the knowledge that I would never misuse this certificate in order to defraud others or diversify my professional expertise.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all the thousands of other individuals who have access to Nilkhet’s resources. Instead of choosing to simply be content with their sham certificates, certain individuals (such as the one above) may also choose to employ questionable practices.

This, in a connected way, brings to mind the question – are there any laws at all in the arena? What is our legal framework doing to address this situation? The Penal Code contains a few provisions (mainly 463 to 477) which deal with the issue of forgery and it being a punishable office. A few such forgery establishments in Nilkhet have already undergone scrutiny by the law authorities but numerous other establishments remain untouched. This is also brazenly proven by the fact that these establishments continue to exist despite the fact that provisions punishing forgery is present in the Penal Code itself. Whilst more priority is given to the issue of counterfeiting of money bills (as evidenced by the constant reform and introduction of appropriate laws, ie, The Fake Currency Prevention Bill 2013), the issue of forged certificates appears to continually be treated trivially. It appears that the obligation rests on the employers or higher education bodies to verify the authenticity of any such qualifications or educational certificates.

It’s a pity that whilst these are legitimate issues, the legal framework in Bangladesh still contains loopholes in this context. This once again brings to mind the burning question - how seriously are the concerned authorities treating this significant issue?