Sunday, June 16, 2024

No driving licence to be issued without test: HC

The High Court on Thursday prohibited till October 17 the issuance of driving licences without making the aspirant drivers undergo the proper tests and due process of law.
The bench of Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Md Nuruzzaman asked the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority to produce before it on October 17 all the documents pertaining to the driving licences issued in the last five years.
The court passed the order after hearing a supplementary petition filed on August 23, seeking imposition of restrictions on the issuance of driving licences without proper tests in order to prevent road accidents.
Petitioners’ counsel Iqbal Kabir, while moving the supplementary petition, told the court that despite the unabated continuation of road accidents, mostly caused by unskilled drivers, shipping minister Shahjahan Khan has continued his campaign for the issuance of driving licences without proper tests. Therefore the court should immediately impose a restriction on issuance of driving licences, he argued.
The Bangladesh Bar Council’s Legal Aid and Human Rights Committee’s chairman ZI Khan, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust and Supreme Court lawyer Abantee Nurul jointly filed the supplementary petition in the furtherance of the writ petition they had filed on August 14.
In the earlier petition, the same High Court bench on August 23 had asked the government to explain its failure to ensure safety on the roads and to repair the damaged highways throughout the country.
It had asked the government to submit a report to it by October 17 on the steps taken to ensure road safety and repair the country’s roads, and posted October 18 for the hearing of the government’s reply to the rule.
The court had also asked the communications secretary, Roads and Highways Department’s chief engineer and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority’s chairman to explain what action they had taken in connection with the reported issuance of licences to aspiring drivers without making them undergo the necessary tests.
They were also asked to submit a report on the driving licences issued in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The BRTA’s chairman was also asked to submit a report detailing the road accidents that had occurred till 2010.
The petition was filed a day after internationally acclaimed film director Tareque Masud, ATN News’ chief executive officer Ashfaque Mishuk Munier and three others were killed in a road accident at Ghior in Manikganj on August 13.
The court had asked the government to provide several more items of information, including the measures taken to prevent road accidents at the 216 ‘black spots’ on major highways identified by the Roads and Highways Department, the accidents that had occurred till 2010 and the steps taken for investigating them.
The government was asked to report to the court about how many licences had been issued for heavy and light vehicles in the last five years and whether any tests had been conducted to ascertain the fitness of the licence-holders.
The court also wanted to know whether any medical tests of the drivers had been conducted to ascertain their physical fitness and whether any tests had been conducted to examine the fitness of the vehicles.
The government will also need to explain the criteria followed for renewal of the licences.
It was asked to detail the measures taken against the running of unfit vehicles, drivers having no valid licences or those guilty of talking over mobile phones while driving.
It will also need to detail the measures taken against the drivers and people in the front seats for not fastening their seatbelts.
The government was also asked to detail the latest situation of the implementation of the recommendations made by the road safety committees.
The court had also wanted to know whether any investigation was conducted or any action taken against the people engaged in ensuring road safety for their failure.
The government will also need to detail the budgetary allocations for the Roads and Highways Department in the last five years, and its expenditure and the programmes taken up or implemented for development of the roads.
The court asked the Accident Research Institute of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology to submit a report by October 17, detailing the causes of road accidents and making recommendations for their prevention.

-With New Age input

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