The Supreme Court yesterday deferred the date for delivering verdict on the Accord's plea to stay on in Bangladesh to December 10 as it wants to hear more on the conditions placed by the government for extension of the tenure.
This is the third time that the apex court has adjourned the hearing on a petition filed by the Accord challenging a High Court directive that asked it to end all activities in Bangladesh on November 30.
Formed following the Rana Plaza collapse in April 2013 to enhance workplace safety in Bangladesh's garment factories, the Accord has been insisting on a three-year extension to see through the remediation works in its sourcing factories.
Until yesterday, the government was adamant on not extending the platform's tenure any further than the six months it had given on May 13.
Additional Attorney General Murad Reza yesterday placed eight conditions of the government for extension of the Accord's tenure before the SC bench.
The conditions include the platform cannot interfere in the labour issues in Bangladesh and it also cannot add new repair works in factories that are conducting remediation works as per the recommendations of Accord engineers.
As of November, the Accord-affiliated factories have completed 90 percent of remediation works. Of the nearly 1,600 factories inspected, 91 have fully completed their remediation.
The Accord, a platform of more than 200 retailers mostly based in Europe, cannot severe business ties with any factory. It also cannot end business ties with a whole group if any of its unit fails to improve the remediation to the standards of the platform.
There must also be representation of the government during the factory inspections.
The Accord though wants to operate without any conditions, said Md Yousuf Ali, an advocate of the SC and a respondent to the case.
“We are committed to the transitional Accord until the strengthening of the Remediation Coordination Cell. We will leave as soon as the RCC is ready to take over our activities,” Joris Oldenziel, deputy director for implementation of the Accord, told The Daily Star.
The extension or departure of the Accord is hanging on the court's verdict thanks to a verdict to a case filed by Chittagong-based Smart Jeans.
In that verdict, the court said its observation is a must if the tenure is to be extended.
Advocate KS Salahuddin Ahmed appeared in the court for the Accord. Md Yousuf Ali is a lawyer of Smart Jeans.