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Dhaka Tribune

Govt yet to reply to HC’s spectrum ruling

Update : 26 Apr 2013, 09:34 AM


Eight years have passed since the collapse of the building that housed Spectrum Sweater Factory. Neither the government nor the other concerned authorities have yet responded to the apex High Court’s ruling on the incident.

Although the April 11, 2005 collapse left around 80 people dead and held the media’s attention for days, none of the government probes have filed any reports to the court and justice is yet to be served.

Allegations have surfaced that the probe teams were “managed” by large bribes when they visited the sites.

Sources claimed that the cases filed over the collapse did not progress much due to the government’s failure to reply to the court’s ruling.

However, the platform of garments owners, BGMEA, did respond to the court and said the building’s structure did not meet the legal standards and that it was built within the jurisdiction of the Cantonment Board, which was to provide the construction’s approval.

A total of eight organisations including Bangladesh Legal Aid Trust Services (BLAST), Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA), Adhikar, Nijera Kori, Ain O Salish Kendra and Karmajibi Nari, along with a victim, Motaleb Hossain, who was wounded in the collapse, had moved the apex court seeking its intervention.

The bench of justices Abdul Matin and AFM Abdur Rahman issued a ruling based on the petition, which is, even after eight years, yet to be responded to.

Justice Abdul Shah Abu Naim, two years after the initial ruling, gave an order regarding the construction of such structures, which was also not followed.

The ruling, that was apparently disregarded, asked why an independent probe headed by a retired justice should not be constituted to look into the collapse and asked to know whether there were any problems with providing proper compensation to the victims and bringing to account those involved.

The court had also wanted the related authorities to show reasons behind not being bound to construct garment factories in Dhaka, Narayanganj and Chittagong in compliance with acceptable standards.

It had reportedly given the respondents three weeks to answer to the queries and stuck a two-month deadline on the submission of a report by the then probe comprised of capital development authority, Rajuk, and Cantonment Board members.  

The court also banned the selling and relocation of the Spectrum building or its properties, until the matter was resolved.

Deputy Attorney General Rajik Al Jalil was representing the state, while Dr Kamal Hossain, Barrister Tanjib Ul Alam, Rizwana Hasan and Iqbal Kabir Liton argued for the petitioners.

Secretaries to the ministries of home, labour and employment, food and disaster management, land and environment, and industries were told to respond along with Dhaka district commissioner, chief inspector (factory) of Rajuk, chief executive officer of the Savar Cantonment Board, Fire Service director general, BGMEA president and the three owners of Spectrum garments.      

When contacted, Deputy Attorney General Rajik Al Jalil said he couldn’t remember if the ruling had been responded to.

However, a lawyer from the prosecution side confirmed that BGMEA responded to the court ruling while the owners failed to show documents of the building’s approval.

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