Case Number: Writ Petition No. 15693 of 2012
Date of filing: 2012/11/26
1. Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK)
2. Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST)
3. Nijera Kori
1. Secretary, Ministry of Industries
2. Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment
3. Chief Inspector of Factories
4. President, Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exports Association (BGMEA)
5. Director General, Fire Service and Civil Defence
6. Managing Director, Tuba Group
7. Managing Director, Tazreen Fashion Ltd.
On 24.11.2012, more than 110 people died due to a fire breaking out at the Tazreen Fashion Limited, in Ashulia. Ain-O-Shalish Kendra (ASK) commenced an investigation with a view to finding out the actual cause(s) of the fire in order to be able to assist the process of holding those responsible accountable within the justice system. The investigation included a visit to the factory and interviews of the victims, their family members, witnesses, concerned police officers and fire station officials.
The report concluded that the causes behind this tragedy include:
1. There were only three narrow staircases for the workers to use to access the ground floor;
2. Other than these regularly used staircases, there were no emergency exits or stairways, or any form of automated fire defence systems, and no emergency fire doors;
3. There was insufficient fire defence equipment – most of them were unused and most workers were unable to use this equipment;
4. Insufficient water sources inside or outside of the factory;
5. The ground floors were being using as a storage facility (unplanned);
6. Two high voltage electricity transformers were placed on the ground floor, which raises particular risks;
7. There was only one main exit/entrance on the ground-floor, which was not suitably sized for the number of employees and the size of the building.
BLAST, ASK, BRAC and NijeraKori, filed a writ petition against the failure of the respondents to ensure effective enforcement of applicable laws on work-place safety in particular regarding prevention of deaths and injuries of workers from fire in garments manufacturing factories.
The High Court issued a Rule Nisi calling upon the respondents to show cause as to why they should not be directed to investigate, prosecute and punish people responsible for the factory fire. The Court directed BGMEA to submit a report within two months including a list of garment factories across the country, and a report on whether the authorities of the factories comply with the relevant laws to run those, and what steps they have taken to save the workers from fires, and directed the Chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Chief Executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) to suggest names of some eminent persons within 10 days for constituting a probe committee into this incident. The Court directed the government to explain what steps it has taken to implement the HC directives issued in 2001 in Writ Petition no. 6070/1997 to ensure safety and security of garment workers and to form an inspection committee to monitor whether the garments authorities abide by the relevant laws in running their factories, and directed the authorities of Tuba Groups and Tazreen Fashions Ltd, to state in detail what steps have been taken regarding compensations for the workers killed and the injured, and what measures they have taken to ensure treatment of the injured workers.
Mr. Justice Mirza Hussain Haider
Mr. Justice Kazi Md. Ejarul Haque Akondo
Area of law
Workplace Safety; Fire Hazard
Constitution, Articles 11, 14, 15, 21, 27, 31 and 32; Bangladesh Labour Code, 2006; Fire Service Ordinance 1959; Factories Act 1965
Database Last Updated on: 2017-02-12 15:26:45