Although the statistics of road accidents occurring in Bangladesh is alarming, the number of successful cases is frustratingly disappointing. The Supreme Court (SC) of Bangladesh has been endeavouring to develop a jurisprudence of compensatory justice for the victims of road accidents. Let us have a look on some notable cases:
Bangladesh Beverage Industries Ltd Case
The case of Bangladesh Beverage Industries Ltd v Rowshan Akhter is seminal for evaluating damages and granting compensation for the non-calculable losses. In this case, a journalist, was killed in a hit and run incident. A minivan rushing from the wrong side shattered his skull.
The Joint District Judge, Dhaka, awarded TK 3,52,97,000 as compensation. Reduced to TK 2,01,47,008 in the High Court Division (HCD), the Appellate Division (AD) finally decreed the compensation amount to be TK 1,71,47,008.
Catherine Masud Case
Catherine Masud case is the first of its kind case decided directly in the HCD. On August 13, 2011, the renowned filmmaker TarequeMasud(54) died in a fatal road accident. Compensation was sought from co-owners of the bus, the driver and the insurance company. A case was filed with the District Judge and Motor Accident Claim Tribunal in Manikganj, on February 13, 2012. In 2014, it was ruled that HCD will hold the trials. The HCD on December 3, 2017 ordered to pay TK 4.61 crore in compensation to the family of TarequeMasud for his untimely death in the accident.
Rajib Hossain Case
Rajib Hossain (22) lost his right hand between two buses on April 3, 2018. He died subsequently after succumbing to the injuries. Following a writ petition filed over the incident, the HCD ordered BRTC and bus owner to pay TK 10 million as compensation to Rajib's family.
However, the AD stayed the order and directed the HCD to form a committee to unearth the persons responsible for Rajib's death and submit a report thereafter. A three-member committee to assess the liabilities and compensation was formed.Later, a time prayer was moved as the committee members could not talk to the accused drivers and the probe report remained incomplete. On August 1, the HCD directed the IG of Prisons to allow the committee to interview the two accused drivers. The Court may deliver its next order on October 4.
Nazim Uddin Case
On May 17, 2018 a bus ran over Nazim Uddin's (38) motorcycle. Nazim later died in a hospital. Taking notice of the newspaper reports published in respect of the accident, the Court passed a suo moto rule on May 22. The respondents were asked show cause as to why TK 1 crore compensation would not be given to the family of Nazim.
Nurul Amin Chowdhury Case
The right leg of Nurul Amin Chowdhury (56) was damaged under the wheels of a bus, on May 17, 2018. His leg had to be later amputated. Following a writ petition filed by Amnesty Bengal, the HCD issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why they should not be directed to give TK 1.5 crore as compensation.
Airport Road Bus Accident Case
On July 29, 2018 two students were killed in a road crash in the Airport Road area. The HCD ordered the owners of 'Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan' to pay TK 5 lakh to each of their families within a week. The Court also ordered the bus operators to bear all costs of treatment of the injured students.
The Court further issued a rule asking the authorities to explain why directives should not be given to provide TK 2 crore to each of the families as compensation. The HCD also directed the BRTA chairman to file a report ensuring that the bus owners pay the damages within seven days, and to submit a report on what steps they have taken to ensure the security of commuters on roads and on the basis of what drivers of public transports are given driving licenses.On August 09, the AD upheld the HCD's order.
THE WRITER IS A STUNDENT OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF DHAKA.