Still occupied 11yrs into HC order for clearing
Over 11 years into being issued, a High Court directive to keep clear the capital's footpaths for easy and obstruction-free movement of people remains unimplemented due to a “lack of political commitment of the successive governments”.
The court had passed the directive on February 11, 2001 following a public-interest litigation, stating that the footpaths and streets should be kept clean and cleared for the easy passage and use by the public.
It also ordered the authorities concerned of the government to make concerted efforts to remove unauthorised establishments and construction and construction materials illegally placed on the footpaths and streets.
The governments had no political commitment to make Dhaka city habitable and therefore did not give any priority to the issue, said Syeda Rizwana Hassan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association.
Talking to The Daily Star last Thursday, she stated that if the governments had such priority and commitment, Dhaka city would not have ended up to be the number one inhabitable city in the world, as stated by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The HC delivered a number of directives in recent years to make the environment of the capital habitable, fit and safe. But very few of them were executed by the government. The condition of footpaths and streets in Dhaka worsened rather than improved, said the environmentalist lawyer.
Moreover, there is no move from the administration to execute the HC directives, she added.
Citing an example, Rizwana said the Indian government already implemented such directives given by the Delhi Supreme Court.
The Daily Star obtained a copy of the 2001 verdict of the HC bench of Justice Abu Sayeed Ahammed and Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury.
In it, the HC had also urged the chief justice to be kind enough to direct the registrar of the Supreme Court to open a monitoring cell to see to the implementation of the directive.
SC Registrar AKM Shamsul Islam said his office did not get any copy of the HC verdict and he did not get any instruction from the chief justice to open any such monitoring cell.
He said he had no plan to set up any monitoring cell due to a shortage of competent manpower.
The HC bench had also directed the inspector general of police (IGP) to submit a report every three months without fail on compliance of the directives to the SC registrar and the government.
On contact, IGP Hassan Mahmood Khandker refused to comment on this issue, saying he was not aware of the HC verdict.
The commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police could not be reached for comment despite repeated attempts.