ACCOUNTABILITY AND INSTITUTIONAL REFORM


Introduction

Laws cannot be effective unless they are robustly enforced. Where a state has set up institutional processes, the state is responsible for making those processes work. BLAST files writ petitions in the High Court to ensure enforcement of laws, rules and guidelines laid out by the Government. Some laws that BLAST has filed writ petitions to enforce include the Bangla Bhasha Procholon Ain, 1987; the Town Improvement Act, 1953; the Environment Conservation Act, 1995; the Children Act, 1974; Members of Parliament (Salaries and Allowances) Order, 1973; and the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation Amendment Act, 2003.


A key focus of BLAST’s is strengthening of the judiciary, furthering separation of the judiciary and the executive and ensuring access to justice. To this end, BLAST has been involved in PIL to enable access to judicial remedies (through setting up civil courts and Special Tribunals on Violence Against Women in the CHT), and to ensure fair trial in the courts. It has also been involved in litigation to ensure the accountability of parliamentarians (PIL for repayment of arrears of telephone bills), and other elected officials and public functionaries (PIL for directives on local government officials not to take part in the imposition of extra judicial penalties).


BLAST also files petitions and engages in advocacy to ensure democratic representation and participation in government. When the Gram Parishad Ain, 1997 was passed by Parliament, BLAST challenged it in the High Court, arguing that any local governing body must conform to Constitutional requirements for democratic election. Parliament replaced the Gram Parishad Ain, 1997 with the Gram Sarkar Ain, 2003, and BLAST challenged this new law, obtaining a judgment from the High Court on 02.08.2005, which held that the Gram Sarkar Ain, 2003 was void. It observed that the Act had replaced the ‘Village Parishad’, an elected body and a local government by ‘Gram Sarkar’ a demonstratively autocratic body, which is inconsistent with the democratic spirit of the Constitution.


BLAST’s PIL and advocacy work highlights the importance of catalyzing institutional and administrative responses in cases of human rights violations. Many of its PIL cases include prayers for implementation of existing laws and for clearer directions to require public functionaries to perform their statutory duties.



Public Interest Litigation

Judgments:

  • BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [Iodized Salt Case]
    Writ Petition No. 1043 of 1999
    25 BLD (2005) 83
    Full Text
    Summary
  • BLAST vs. Bangladesh and others [MP’s Telephone Bills Case]
    Writ Petition No. 2060 of 2001
    60 DLR (2008) 177
    Full Text
    Summary
  • BLAST vs. Bangladesh and others [‘Gram Parishad Ain, 2003’ Case]
    Writ Petition No. 4502 of 2003
    60 DLR (2008) 234
    Full Text
    Summary

  • Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust and another vs. Bangladesh and Others [Children Act, 1974 Case]
    Writ Petition No. 1341 of 2000
    22 BLD (2002) 206
    Full Text
    Summary
  • Bangladesh Legal Aid Services and Trust vs. Bangladesh and others [Chittagong Hill Tracts Courts Case]
    Writ Petition No. 606 of 2006
    61 DLR (2009) 109
    Full Text (Available in Bangla Only)
    Summary


Disposed:

  • BLAST and others vs. Bangladesh and others [‘Gram Parishad Ain, 1997’ Case]
    Writ Petition No. 6875 of 1997
    Summary

  • BLAST and others vs. Bangladesh and others [Voter ID Card Case]
    Writ Petition No. 1837 of 1998
    Summary

  • BLAST vs. Bangladesh and others [Inmates' Diet Case]
    Writ Petition No. 7986 of 2006
    Summary


Pending:

  • A.K. Rezaul Karim and others vs. Bangladesh and others [Ban of Publications Case]
    Writ Petition no. 7037 of 2004
    Summary
  • BLAST vs. Bangladesh and others [Untreated Industrial Waste Case]
    Writ Petition No. 5007 of 2006
    Summary
  • BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [Building Construction Code and Worker Safety Case]
    Writ Petition No. 718 of 2008
    Summary
  • BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [Labour Tribunal Case]
    Writ Petition No. 6448 of 2008
    Summary
  • BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [Bangla Language Case]
    Writ Petition No. 8404 of 2008
    Summary
  • BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [Non-Compliance with Environment Conservation Rules Case]
    Writ Petition No. 341 of 2009
    Summary
  • Anisur Rashid, ASK and BLAST vs. Bangladesh and others [Safe Blood Transfusion Case]
    Writ Petition No. 1360 of 2010
    Summary

Events:

Seminar on Exchanging experiences of promoting justice: A role for lawyers


Publications

  • Separation of the Judiciary: What to Do in the Present Context (2006)
  • Food Security in Bangladesh: Legal Obligation (2006)



Media

 

BLAST, YMCA Development Center, 1/1 Pioneer Road, Kakrail, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh
BLAST would like to thank Sara Hossain, Arafat Hosen Khan, Amanda Sen, Rokeya Chowdhury & Kazi Ataul-al Osman for content development
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