The Supreme Court on Sunday stayed until 23 March a High Court order that directed 154 Hazaribagh tannery owners to pay Tk 30.65 crore fine for not relocating their factories to the Tannery Estate in Savar within the given time.
Following a petition filed by Bangladesh Tanners Association and Bangladesh Finished Leather, Leather Goods and Footwear Exporters’ Association, chamber judge of the Appellate Division Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain came up with the order and sent the appeal to the regular bench of the apex court for hearing.
Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh and Mohammad Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury argued for the tannery owners, reports news agency UNB.
On March 2, the HC directed the 154 Hazaribagh tannery owners to pay Tk 30.65 crore fine within two weeks for not relocating their factories to the Tannery Estate in Savar within the stipulated time.
The order came following a list of 154 errant tannery owners who hadn’t paid Tk 10,000 fine per day according to the court’s previous directive submitted by the Industries Secretary.
On February 7, the secretary appeared before the court following its directive to explain his failure to collect Tk 10,000 per day from the tannery owners. On that day, the HC directed him to submit the list of the 154 tannery owners.
On July 18 last, the Supreme Court ordered each of the 154 tannery owners at Hazaribagh to pay the government Tk 10,000 per day as fine for not relocating their factories to the Tannery Estate in Savar.
The court also ordered the government to donate 50 percent of the fine to the National Liver Foundation of Bangladesh, UNB also said.
On January 10 last, the Industries Secretary submitted a report before the court mentioning that 150 companies paid Tk 10,000 each in August last while four paid the fine for September while three others for October last.
As the secretary failed to perform his duty for collecting the fine, Supreme Court lawyer Advocate Manzill Murshid filed a petition seeking a summon order against him to give the explanation.
In 2001, the High Court passed an order for relocating the tannery industries from Hazaribagh of the capital.
The government extended several times the relocation deadline following requests from the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC), the implementing agency of the tannery estate project.