HC rule on govt’s ‘inaction’ on imposing restrictions on blockade, shutdown

In another rule, the bench of justices Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Abu Taher Md. Saifur Rahman has also asked why the blockades will not be declared ‘unconstitutional’.

The rules were issued on Monday after the initial hearing of a petition filed by four business bodies, including the apex FBCCI.

Secretaries to home, law, information, Bangladesh Bank governor, the ruling Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party, Workers’ Party, among others, have been named defendants.

Earlier after hearing a petition, the same High Court bench had instructed the government to take measures to stop the ongoing violence during BNP-sponsored blockades that started from Jan 5.

And now comes a new rule which questions the government’s ‘lack of action’ on the same issue.

The FBCCI, BGMEA, BKMEA and BTMEA chiefs, who are the plaintiffs of the petition, were represented by Kamrul Haque Siddiqui and Imtiaz Moinul Islam at the High Court on Monday.

Deputy Attorney General Tapash Kumar Biswas stood for the state.

Imtiaz told journalists after the hearing that the court gave the defendants four weeks to respond.

Seven other rules were also issued addressing issues like loan repayment, compensation, why all the political parties should not be made responsible for the damage and losses caused by the blockades and shutdown and the role of media.

They include questioning the legality of calling shutdown without providing proper notice.

Rulings related to loan repayment include why Credit Investigations Bureau’s (CIB) listing of defaulters among businessmen affected by the blockades and shutdowns would not be halted;.

They also include why collection of interest of bank loans for the period would not be stopped and why all small businessmen not be given scope to reschedule payback of their loans for another 12 months.

One rule addressed the issue of compensation by questioning why the government should not form a fund to compensate businessmen affected by the shutdowns, blockade.

Another asked why all political parties should not be held responsible for such losses allowing those affected to seek compensation from them through the High Court.

The court also ruled asking why media coverage of shutdown declarations should not be banned and to find out if such reporting acts as incitement and if it does, whether it is part of media’s freedom.

Keraniganj businessmen Shahinur Rahman Shahin moved the High Court on Sunday over blockade and shutdowns that have left the businesses bleeding for the past two months.

The court held a hearing on whether public interest petition citing own losses could be filed.

It came up on the court’s Sunday cause list.

The BNP-led coalition has been enforcing an indefinite transport blockade across Bangladesh since Jan 5 demanding interim poll under a non-party government.

It has been also calling for shutdowns every day except for weekly and public holidays from the beginning of February.

More than 100 people have died , mostly of burns suffered in firebombings of vehicles.

Despite concerns expressed by the global community including the UN, the US and the UK over the situation in Bangladesh, the 20-Party alliance led by the BNP has stuck on with the agitation.

Business chambers have been demanding a law to ban blockade and shutdowns for quite some time now and the government says that can happen only if the people support that.

Source: Bd news24