23 January 2012

Bangladesh SC asks HC to examine shipbreaking rules:

The Supreme Court yesterday sent 2 rules framed by the government regarding shipbreaking to the High Court so that the latter can examine whether they were prepared as per previous HC directives.

One of the 2 rules, Ship Breaking and Ship Recycling Rules, 2011, was issued through a gazette by Ministry of Industries on December 12 last year.

On January 8 this year, the ministry amended the rule in compliance with SC's December 14 directive which said the rule had not ensured the protection of workers and the environment.

The second, Hazardous Waste and Ship Breaking Management Rules 2011, was issued through a gazette by Ministry of Environment and Forests on December 22 last year.

The rules were sent by a 5-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain yesterday after the government and Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) placed them before it.

Bela's lawyer, Advocate Iqbal Kabir Lytton, said they will submit an application to an HC bench to examine the rules as the Appellate Division did not specifically mention any bench for it.

Following Bela's writ petition, the HC, at different times since 2006, directed the government to frame the rules to ensure a pollution-free shipbreaking industry and workers' safety.

On December 15, 2010, the HC asked the government to frame the rules in three months in light of six existing laws.

The laws are -- Basel Convention Act, 1989; Bangladesh Environment Protection Act, 1995; Bangladesh Marine and Fisheries Ordinance, 1989; Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006; Bangladesh Territorial Water and Maritime Zone Act, 1974; and Environment Protection Rules, 1997.

Barrister Fida M Kamal appeared for Bela while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the government.

Source: The Daily Star. 13 January 2012

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