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Monday, March 2, 2015, Falgun 18, 1421 BS, Jamadi ul Awwal 10, 1436 Hijr

Businesses challenge blockade, hartal 
HC questions its admissibility
Published : Monday, 2 March, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 24
Staff Correspondent
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) along with three leading export-oriented business bodies on Sunday moved the High Court challenging hartal and blockade which have been causing serious harm to business and economy.
The three other plaintiffs include Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Textiles Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BTMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA).
They filed a writ petition with the HC seeking restrictions on hartal and blockade to save business from financial loss. They sought also the court's directives on the government to compensate the businessmen, as they suffered huge losses due to the ongoing hartal and blockade.
They also sought an order to extend the duration for bank-loan repayment to 12 years in place of existing three to four years.
The HC bench of Justice Kazi Reza-Ul Haque and Justice Abu Taher Md Saifur Rahman started hearing the petition on Sunday. Later, it fixed Monday for further hearing.
Secretaries to the Ministries of Home, Law and Information, Bangladesh Bank Governor, ruling Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party, Workers' Party, among others, have been named defendants.
Meanwhile, UNB adds: Interrupting the counsel for top-level business bodies over a writ petition seeking to prohibit blockade and hartal, the High Court on Sunday questioned its admissibility during hearing on Sunday as no association has any fundamental right sans its member.
"Since the writ petition has been filed by a group of business organizations, they don't have any fundamental right," observed the HC division bench, comprising Justice Quazi Raza-Ul Hoque and Justice ATM Saifur Rahman.
During the hearing, the HC also asked the petitioner's counsel whether any association can file a writ petition exercising its fundamental right conferred by the constitution. "Any association is not eligible for filing the writ petition independently, but it can join a person only."
Referring to the rationale of the writ petition filed in the form of public interest litigation (PIL), the HC raised the question how it becomes a PIL as members of the business community individually suffered losses financially as mentioned. "Mere showing the balance sheet, a PIL writ can't be entertained."
As Quamrul Islam Siddiquee, the counsel for the business bodies, could not satisfy the HC queries instantly, the bench adjourned the hearing for Monday and asked the counsel to come before it with homework.
Four business bodies - Federation of Bangladesh Chambers and Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) - filed the PIL writ petition seeking to make illegal the nationwide indefinite transport blockade and hartal enforced by BNP-Jamaat alliance to realise their political demands and asking compensation for loss incurred due to blockade and hartal.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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