This edition of ‘From the Court Corridor’ curates the notable pronouncements of the High Court Division (HCD) and the Appellate Division (AD) of the Supreme Court (SC) of Bangladesh in August 2022.

The HCD rejects petition to stop government officials’ “unnecessary foreign trips”

On 1 August 2022 the High Court Division summarily dismissed a writ petition (WP) which sought to stop unnecessary foreign trips of government officials forsaking seminars, meetings, etc. The petition was filed as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by ASM AL Sonnet who is a Dhaka University student.

The bench comprised of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat passed the order. The contention of the Attorney General was that no such officials have taken foreign trips for unnecessary purposes or without due permission. He also provided assurance in following directives provided by the Finance Ministry on 12 May which suspended such trips for various purposes until further notice.

As we are a country with limited resources, expenditure on every sector should be strictly monitored; specially those of which are executed by using public money. So, foreign trips should be made by the most efficient government officials while complying with the guidelines provided by the Finance Ministry.

The HCD orders to pay monetary compensation to the families of the victims of Uttara girder accident 

The HCD on 17 August 2022 issued a rule asking concerned authorities to explain why they would not pay Tk one crore as compensation for each of the five victims’ families who were crushed to death after a 50-60 ton girder fell on their private car at Uttara on 15 August.

The writ petition was filed by Shahjahan Akand Masum on behalf of Supreme Court (SC) lawyer Zakaria Khan. The bench comprising Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Ahmed Sohel issued the rule. The Home Secretary, Roads and Highways Secretary, LGRD secretary and related parties were made respondents to the rule. The court also questioned as to why the inaction of the authorities to prevent accidents should not be declared illegal. 

Public law compensation has been developed in Bangladesh in recent years and has resulted in establishment of constitutional tort also. It is high time tort law got codified in our country to ensure accountability of parties causing gross negligence.

The HCD revives sensational murder case of BTV officials after an era

The HCD on 31 August 2022 ordered the concerned lower court to resume the trial proceedings of a notorious case filed for killing four officials of Bangladesh Television (BTV) after the bloody 15 August 1975. 

The bench consisted of Justice Md Abu Zafor Siddique and Justice Md Mahmud Hassan Talukder. The HCD lifted the stay order after rejecting a petition filed by Altaf Hossain, an accused in the murder case, in 2005 seeking cancellation of the trial proceedings.  Following this order, the trial proceedings would be resumed at lower court against five of the accused.

The prosecution case was that on 7 November 1975, Altaf Hossain, who was an honorary Lieutenant of the Army; BTV staff members Abul Quashem Bagoja, Abul Awal Sarkar, Lutfar Rahman Talukder, Syed Ainul Kabir, Ainuzzaman, and Md Shahjahan Miaji detained the then deputy general director (programme) of BTV Monirul Alam, its administrative officer AFM Siddique, chief accountant Akmal Khan and photographer Firoz Kaiyum Chowdhury. The case was filed by the families of the victims as a kidnapping case but eventually got converted to a murder case. Three of the victims’ skeletons were recovered.