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Bangladesh - Public Interest Litigation
The Law
Public Interest Litigation is grounded around section 102 of the Constitution. See below.

Section 102(1) allows the court to pass an order where there has been a breach of fundamental rights. These are rights set out in Part III of the constitution (and include for example: equality before the law, right to life and personal liberty, and freedoms of movement, assembly, association, thought and conscience)

Section 102(1) (a) allows the court to pass an order requiring the government to do what is required by law, and not to do what is forbidden by law to so.

The application to the court can be made by "an aggrieved person." It is the wide interpretation by the courts of the term "an aggrieved person" - to include legal aid, human rights, or development organisations - that has opened up public interest litigation. These groups can as a result petition the court on behalf of workers, or other affected groups of people

102. Powers of High Court Division to issue certain orders and directions, etc.
(1) The High Court Division on the application of any person aggrieved, may give such directions or orders to any person or authority, including any person performing any function in connection with the affairs of the Republic, as may be appropriate for the enforcement of any the fundamental rights conferred by Part III of this Constitution.

The High Court Division may, if satisfied that no other equally efficacious remedy is provided by law-

(a) on the application of any person aggrieved, make an order-
(i) directing a person performing any functions in connection with the affairs of the Republic or of a local authority to refrain from doing that which he is not permitted by law to do or to do that which he is required by law to do;
(ii) declaring that any act done or proceeding taken by a person performing functions in connection with the affairs of the Republic or of a local authority has been done or taken without lawful authority and is of no legal effect; or
(b) ,,,,,
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in the foregoing clauses, the High Court Division shall have no power under this article to pass any interim or other order in relation to any law to which article 47 applies
(4) Whereon an application made under clause (1) or sub-clause (a) of clause (2), an interim order is prayed for and such interim order is likely to have the effect of-
(a) prejudicing or interfering with any measure designed to implement any development programme, or any development work; or
(b) being otherwise harmful to the public interest, the High Court Division shall not make an interim order unless the Attorney-General has been given reasonable notice of the application and he (or an advocate authorised by him in that behalf) has been given an opportunity or being heard, and the High Court Division is satisfied that the interim order would not have the effect referred to in sub-clause (a) or sub-clause (b)
(5) In this article, unless the context otherwise requires, "person" includes a statutory public authority and any court or tribunal, other than a court or tribunal established under a law relating to the defence services of Bangladesh or any disciplined force or a tribunal to which article 117 applies.

The exemption in sub-section 3 - referring back to article 47 of the constitution - has little impact on health and safety issues


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Page last updated on April 21, 2007