BLAST and others v Bangladesh and others [‘Vehicular Pollution’ Case] Writ Petition No. 1694/2000

High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh

Facts: BLAST, on behalf of two minor petitioners, filed a writ petition challenging the plying of three wheelers operating with two-stroke engines in Dhaka, as contributing to environmental hazards in Dhaka and affecting the health of children and elderly people in particular by emission of a high level of pollutants. They relied on an agreement signed in 1997 by the Dhaka City Auto Rickshaw Business Owners Association, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and the Ministry of Communications to the effect that three wheelers older than nine years would not operate within Dhaka and would not be sold in other Metropolitan areas, and alleged that there had been no effective implementation of this Agreement.

Argument: The petitioners argued that the failure of the respondents to regulate the plying of the two stroke three wheelers to the prejudice of the health and safety of city dwellers were in violation of the statutory obligations, and international human rights and environmental standards. The petitioners submitted that the failure to regulate was in violation of the fundamental rights to adequate standard of living, the right to health care, the right to unpolluted air and to freedom from noise pollution, all of which were to be interpreted to be included within the right to life, as guaranteed under Articles 31 and 32 of the Constitution.

Order: The High Court gave a judgment and passed an order directing the Government to phase out all three wheelers with two-stroke engines from Dhaka within 2002 and to replace them with clean transport alternatives. The Government’s petition for leave to appeal against the said order was rejected by the Appellate Division on 27.03.2002 in Civil Petition for Leave to Appeal No. 749 of 2002.

Laws Cited: Constitution, Articles 31 and 32; The Town Improvement Act, 1953; The Environment Pollution Control Ordinance 1977.

Status: Disposed. The Government appealed the judgment before the Appellate Division, but the Appellate Division dismissed the appeal.

Judgment reported at: 22 BLD (HCD) 245


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