The High Court yesterday directed the government to take necessary steps to ensure in one month the use of Bangla in all advertisements of electronic media and on vehicles' registration plates, signboards and billboards across the country.
In response to a writ petition, it also ordered the government to submit a report by April 1 on complying with the directive.
Welcoming the order, Bangla Academy Director General Shamsuzzaman Khan said Bangla had long been neglected. Now after the court order, all government offices and mass media should use Bangla in their documentation, he added.
Leading advertising companies appreciated the court's spirit of promoting the use of Bangla, the state language, but at the same time observed that there were certain ads whose target audiences were not Bangla-speaking people. They requested the authorities to be "practical".
The High Court also issued a rule on the government to explain in two weeks why it should not be directed to make Bangla mandatory in all sectors, including offices and courts, as per Bangla Bhasha Procholon Ain (Bangla Language Introduction Law), 1987.
Secretaries to the cabinet and ministries of law, home, and cultural affairs have been made respondents to the rule, Deputy Attorney General Bishwojit Roy told The Daily Star.
The HC bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain came up with the order and rule after hearing a writ petition filed by a Supreme Court lawyer, Eunus Ali Akond.
He filed the petition as public interest litigation on Sunday, seeking an order on the government to issue a circular asking the officials concerned to use Bangla as official language.
In the petition, he said Bangla as the mother language should be used in all sectors according to the constitution and the Bangla language introduction law.
Talking to The Daily Star, Benchmark Ltd Chief Executive Officer Ashraf Kaiser said Bangla should be widely used to make it a powerful language.
However, he said, "We need to be practical because there are many products and services whose consumers are not Bangla-speaking."
It is true that as a colonial language, English is often unnecessarily used and thus Bangla loses its due significance.
Zulfiqar Ahmed, managing director of ad company Unitrend Ltd, said Bangla, as a language in commercials, was always preferable.
“But we need to be aware that TV media has spread all over the world. We should be proud that our products also attract international consumers."
Foreign consumers of Bangladeshi products should be taken into account, Zulfiqar said, adding Bangla should be promoted but not by ignoring English. He, however, supports using Bangla on the vehicles' registration plates.