Environment Court in Every District
Monday, 04 October 2010

The Environment Court Bill-2010 has been passed in the parliament to expedite trials related to environment pollution and formation of courts in every district.

The Climate Change Trust Bill was also passed in the parliament on Monday. Land state minister Mostafizur Rahman Fizar, in absence of the state minister for environment, presented the bills for approval.

State minister for environment Hasan Mahmud tabled the bill on Sep 30. The bill was forwarded to the parliamentary standing committee for environment and forest ministry with a 15-day deadline for analysis.

The parliament on Monday passed Expatriates' Welfare Bill-2010.

The environment court bill also aims to ensure removal of bothersome obstacles in the implementation of environmental laws. It proposes establishment of an environment court at every district. It also allows setting up more than one court if required at the districts. At the same time it mentioned setting up a special magistrate's court for processing such complaints.

The bill made punitive measures stricter raising the maximum sentence to five years from three years and increasing the maximum fine to five lakhs from three lakhs. It also proposed setting up a deadline of 180 days within which special magistrates will have to complete the case proceedings.

The environment department's director general or anyone empowered by him can file the case directly with the special magistrate's court or file a complaint with the police station under the criminal procedure.

The bill also allows the environment department director general or anyone directed by the court to enter any place at any time to conduct searches and collect evidence.

The government, in 2000, decreed the Environment Court Act-2000 which had provisions to set up district-level courts manned by officials at the same level as joint-district judges.

However, only four courts have been set up, with two in Dhaka and Chittagong, an Environment Appeal Court in Dhaka and a district additional judge has been carrying out additional duty in an Environment Court in Sylhet.

Hasan Mahmud said while tabling the bill, "The Environment Court Act-2000 only allows special magistrates to conduct drives against manufacture, import, marketing, stocking, distribution, transporting for commercial purposes and use of polythene shopping bags, and against release of black fumes from vehicle exhausts. They were unable to act against other more severe offences."

"The draft of the Environment Court Act - 2010 was formulated to do away with the previous nuisances faced while implementing the act during the last 10 years," he added.

The environment state minister then proceeded to table the "Climate Change Trust Bill-2010".

The Climate Change Trust Fund Formation Policy was approved by the cabinet on Aug 24, 2009 aiming to control disbursement of the total Tk 14 billion funds donated to Bangladesh during 2009-10FY and 2010-11FY after it has been marked as the most vulnerable victim of climate change.

The bill was forwarded to the parliamentary standing committee for environment and forest ministry with a 15-day deadline for analysis.

Other than these, education minister Nurul Islam Nahid tabled the "International Mother Language Institute Bill 2010.

It was forwarded to the parliamentary standing committee for the education ministry for analysis over the next 10 days.

Source: bdnews24.com

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