Data source
Date of text
15 Jul 2001
Seat of court
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Reference number
WP 891 of 1994
Court name
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
constitutional law

The petitioners in this case prayed for appropriate relief relating to the matter of control of pollution from industries and factories situated all around Bangladesh. A survey had been conducted by the Department of Environment Pollution Control finding that ecological imbalance was being caused continuously due to discharge of various industrial wastes into air and water bodies. The petitioners complained that in spite of many legal provisions in Bangladesh with regard to environment protection there was hardly any improvement in curbing and reducing the hazardous industrial pollution; rather, reports showed that the number of industrial units and projects causing environmental pollution was on the increase all over Bangladesh.
The court was of the view that the petitioners, being registered as an association with the aims to undertake legal action to protect environmental systems and profoundly active in this field of public interest, came within the expression ‘person aggrieved’ under Art. 102 of the Constitution. Thus they had standing to bring the case.
It noted that the Government was under a constitutional obligation to ensure that there was no violation of the fundamental rights of any persons. Environmental legislation in the country was enacted with the hope to eradicate the ill effects of pollution and to protect the lives of many millions of people of the country by keeping a balance in its eco-system. Art. 32 of the constitution guaranteed a right to life. The expression ‘life’ did not mean merely an elementary life but also meant a qualitative life among others, free from environmental hazards. It was also one of the basic rights of the human being to live in a healthy atmosphere and constitutionals remedy under Art. 102 would be available if this basic human right was threatened.
The court was of the view that although various provisions had been enacted the Government had failed to execute and perform their such duties to the letters of the law; meanwhile the polluting industrial units and the factories continued to pollute the waters, the rivers, the air and the environment as a whole, recklessly ignoring the constitutional mandates and the legislations on of this vital aspect of national importance. The precautionary principle embodied in law was not properly implemented, and pollution mauled the very core of Art. 32 of the constitution. In conclusion, the writ was accepted.
Among others, the Director General, Directorate of Environment, was directed to ensure that the polluting industrial units and factories had to adopt adequate and sufficient measures to control pollution within one year from the date of receipt of the judgment and report compliance to this court within six weeks thereafter. The secretary, Minister of industries, was directed to ensure that no new industrial units and factories were set up in Bangladesh without first arranging adequate and sufficient measures to control pollution.