Subject matter of the case-
The inaction and failure of the respondents to take appropriate legal action against the perpetrators who killed several workers and injured hundreds on 17 April 2021 at SS Power I Plant, a coal power plant situated in Poshchim Boroghona, Gondamara, Banshkhali, Chattogram, in a conflict that took place between the workers and the police during a protest; and to direct the respondents to provide compensation to the victim worker’s families and to the injured workers in the said conflict and also to ensure the subsequent safety and security to the workers and their families (including the dead, injured and those who participated in the protest).
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), represented by its Executive Director filed a writ petition against the Government of Bangladesh and others before the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh concerning the incident where police opened fire at the workers on 17 April 2021 during a peaceful protest in demand of five-point including payment of their overdue salaries, which resulted in the unlawful killing of at least 5/6 workers (or more if not reported)and hundreds with grievous injuries.
The petitioner stated in the writ petition, that the respondents are under a statutory obligation to ensure social security of the people at large, and especially as public servants owe Constitutional obligation to protect these poor victims from the powerful vested quarter and ensure that their rights to life, property and livelihood are secured. However, in this case despite ASK sending the respondents a legal notice they failed to take appropriate and immediate steps against the perpetrators rather decided to remain silent.
The petitioner pleaded before the court to issue a rule nisi calling upon the respondents to show cause as to why the impugned inaction and failure of the respondents to take appropriate legal action against the perpetrators who killed several workers and injured hundreds at SS Power I Plant; and also, to ensure the subsequent safety and security to the workers and their families and to the participants who took part in the protest. The petitioners further pleaded before the Court to direct the respondents to pay compensations to the families of the victims who died and to those who got injured during the clash with the Police in the protest.
Ruling of the court-
The High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh on 04 May 2021 directed S Alam Group, the owner of SS Power I Plant to promptly pay Tk 5 lakh as initial cost to the family of each of the victims who were killed after police open fired at them during the demonstration by the workers. The court also asked the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Chittagong to submit their inquiry reports to the Court within 45 days. The High Court further directed the concerned authorities of the Government of Bangladesh and S Alam Group to ensure that any worker or person in that area is not further harassed and also issued a rule asking the authorities to explain why a direction should not be given to form a judicial inquiry committee to probe the incident. On 26 July 2021, S Alam Group in compliance with the directive issued by the High Court Bench on 04 May 2021, gave the families of each of the seven victims 5 lakh taka and further paid Tk 50,000 for the purpose of getting treatment to each of the 16 victims injured in the clash. Additionally, 2.5 lakh Taka was provided for the better treatment of a severely injured victim.