Ship-breakers get SC lifeline
The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday stayed for three weeks a part of the High Court (HC) verdict that directed the government to close within two weeks the operation of all ship-breaking yards running without environmental clearance.
Upon a petition filed by Bangladesh Ship Breakers' Association (BSBA), chamber judge of the SC Justice Md Abdul Aziz also asked the petitioner (BSBA) to file a regular leave to appeal with the SC against the HC verdict within three weeks.
The HC delivered the verdict on March 17 upon a writ petition filed as a public interest litigation (PIL) by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association (BELA).
BELA's lawyer advocate Iqbal Kabir Litan yesterday told The Daily Star that the SC stayed only the portion of the HC verdict for closing the operation of the ship-breaking yards but it did not stay the full judgment.
Rest of the HC directives and observations, including the order that no ship would enter Bangladesh territory for breaking without cleaning its hazardous materials at source or outside the territory, will remain upheld, he said.
The HC in its verdict had imposed a ban on any Greenpeace listed toxic ship's entry into the waters of Bangladesh.
As per the HC order, no ship-breaking operation will take place from now without taking environmental clearance. The government has to make sure that ships are broken under safe working condition while shipyards have appropriate disposal arrangements for hazardous waste and protection of environment.
The court also directed the Ministry of Environment and Forest to frame within three months necessary rules on ship-breaking conforming with the obligations of Bangladesh under the Basel Convention, 1989, the Environment Conservation Act, 1995 and the Environment Conservation Rules, 1997.
The ministry has been ordered to inform the court after three months the status of framing of the rules.
Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud appeared for BSBA while Barrister Fida M Kamal stood for BELA.