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22 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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PIL verdicts not executed properly

MUHAMMAD YEASIN
PIL verdicts not executed properly

Directives issued by the High Court (HC) on at least 120 public interest litigations (PILs) have not been properly implemented. Different human rights organisations filed those PILs seeking HC directives on a range of issues. They included saving rivers from pollution, preventing road accidents, protecting historical sites from illegal occupation, preventing arrests under Section 54 without any warrant, preventing torture of a suspect in remand under, preventing piracy, stopping the use of formalin in fruits and food, among others. The lawyers concerned say it is the job of the executive to deal with administrative issues and Parliament is supposed to make the executive accountable.

In their view, the judiciary exists for justice. It is not there to assist in the functioning of the administration. People file PILs in the HC to seek remedy against administrative failures. But the HC verdicts are not being implemented properly and people are the worse for it.

In 2001, the HC had requested the Supreme Court (SC) to form a "monitoring cell" to supervise all its orders on PILs. However, any such cell is yet to be formed.

Advocate Manzill Murshid, president of the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB), who moved a number of PILs, told this correspondent that the authorities concerned implemented the HC verdicts. However, the percentage of implementation is not adequate, he added.

The lawyer blamed lack of sincerity on the part of the authorities for PIL verdicts not being implemented. “These verdicts were not implemented because of bureaucratic tangles and pressure from various business groups. Had everybody respected court orders, these verdicts would have been implemented,” he said.

He also said petitioners must repeatedly file petitions and contempt petitions, if needed.

Attorney general Mahbubey Alam said a special cell should be formed to implement the HC orders on PILs. “If a monitoring cell is in place, the rate of implementation of PIL verdicts will rise,” he added.

The chief law officer of the state also said that most the HC verdicts relating to PILs had been implemented. He further said the ministries that had not implemented the HC’s PIL verdicts should do so in people’s interest.

For instance, more than 10 years have passed since the HC directed the government to preserve and maintain important historical places, including the killing grounds of the Liberation War. But the government is yet to take any initiative to implement the verdict.

On July 9, 2009, the HC had asked the government to build monuments at Suhrawardy Udyan and to identify the place where the Pakistani forces had surrendered on December 16, 1971. But nothing has been done yet.

In view of an alarming rise in road accidents, the HC in 2009 had asked the government to take steps to install ‘speed governor seals’ or similar devices in automobiles to control their speed. But the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority is yet to take steps in this regard.

On August 24, 2010, the HC had asked the government to return within three months Tk. 297 crore realised by the Army-backed caretaker government from two private companies—Catheli Dated Tea and Land Bangladesh Ltd along with the seven sister concerns of the S Alam Group. This order, too, has not been implemented yet.

There is also an HC order to put an end to deaths in police custody and cross-fires. But law enforcement agencies continue to defy it.

The government is yet to form an independent secretariat for the judiciary, even though it was separated from the executive in 2007.

Although the subordinate judiciary was formally separated from the executive in November 2007 in line with a Supreme Court (SC) order, the executive is still ‘managing’ the judiciary by indirectly appropriating many of its powers. In another order,

the HC had directed the law ministry to consult the LGRD, education, home and labour ministries to formulate guidelines and policies to prevent an alarming rise in eveteasing cases across the country. But no guideline has been formulated yet.

On February 26, 2012, the HC had asked the government to take steps against the encroachment of pavements. But no noticeable steps have been taken yet to free the city’s pavements.

The HC had also ordered the initiation of measures to prevent the mixing of chemicals in fruits. It had also ordered the disqualification of river grabbers from contesting in polls and from availing bank loans. But it has already been proved that the implementation of these orders is next to impossible without the will of the administration.

Recently, during the hearing on a petition, a HC bench said that the judiciary did not want to interfere in the duties of the executive. It also said these were not matters of the court but of the administration. But the judiciary gives directives to the executive when they violate the law at the time of discharging their duties.

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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