Dr Mohiuddin Farooque, et al. v. Bangladesh (Ministry of Communication)

22 BLD (HCD) 2002 345
Download Judgment: English
Country: Bangladesh
Region: Asia
Year: 2002
Court: Supreme Court - High Court Division
Health Topics: Environmental health, Health systems and financing, Public safety
Human Rights: Right to a clean environment, Right to life
Tags: Air pollution, Budget, Environmental degradation, Health regulation, Pollution

Petitioners filed a writ petition arguing that the environment of Dhaka City and the health of its inhabitants were under threat from the “emissions of hazardous smokes and noises in the air from faulty and unfit motor vehicles lacking road worthiness as required by law.”

An investigation conducted by the petitioner and the Executive Committee of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers showed drastic non-compliance with the laws and measures which had been implemented to check the air and noise pollution, such as vehicles lacking or being wrongly-awarded pollution-related fitness certificates. (The investigation even uncovered the fact that many of the respondent’s vehicles did not have fitness certificates). In addition, the petroleum products being used by the vehicles in Dhaka City were degraded through adulteration, and contained certain constituents, which could have a serious negative effect on the health of residents. The Ministry of Environment and Forest added that the pollution in the four metropolitan cities, including Dhaka, had adversely affected foreign investment and tourism in Bangladesh.

The respondents had admitted the severity of the pollution but argued that they were actively trying to control air pollution and detailed a number of steps being taken towards that end.

The Court found that the respondents had failed to properly implement the regulations required to control such pollution. It ordered certain preventive measures to lessen the environmental and noise pollution.

“The current status of the scenario clearly manifest that a large number of vehicles emitting hazardous smokes and using pneumatic and other high noise making audible signals have been plying in the Dhaka City under the respondents nose defying the laws and policies and the respondents have failed to enforce the relevant laws, policies and standards in preventing the vehicular pollution of the country more particularly in the Dhaka City and hence failed to perform their statutory duties and responsibilities resulting in serious health and environmental hazards.” Paragraph 3.

“Under the above circumstances, it is evident that the Respondents, although admitted the severity of the pollution from vehicles, have miserably failed to implement the respective laws, rules and regulations and also their own decisions taken in furtherance of the legal obligation and consequently vehicular pollution both in the form of emission and noise continues to persist at a much severe scale posing deadly threat to the life, health, safety and comfort of the City dwellers.” Paragraph 5.

“It is the case of the respondents that the Government at the high level took some decisions to control the air pollution of Dhaka City from faulty and arrogant vehicles both from emission of hazardous smokes and incessant use of high noise making horns and from faulty vehicular engines plying in the City. We, however, feel some urgent preventive measures to halt sagging environmental pollution and degradation of Dhaka City one of the worst in the world, due to audible vehicular sounds and emission of hazardous black smoke from faulty and arrogant motor vehicles is indeed over due. Hence, in the prevailing situation, in our view ad-interim directions as sought for by the petitioners are necessary.” Paragraph 15.