Update May 12, 2020

Dhaka 5-16 pm, 28-May, 2020

HC holds first virtual hearing

Mirajul Moin Joy

In its first virtual hearing, the High Court on Tuesday directed the authorities concerned to immediately take necessary steps to protect dolphins in the Halda River in Chattogram’s Raozan upazila and stop their killings.

At the same time, the court asked them to submit a report through email in 72 hours on what measures taken to prevent the killing of dolphins.

The High Court bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan came up with the order after holding a virtual hearing on a writ petition filed in the form of public litigation.

Secretaries to the Ministries of Fisheries and Livestock, and Forest and Environment, director general of Department of Environment, director of DoE in Chattogram, deputy commissioner of Chattogram and Raozan Upazila Nirbahi officer have been made respondents to its directives.

Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Abdul Qaium Liton filed the writ on Monday seeking necessary directives to protect dolphins in the river.

The writ petitioner represented himself in the case while Attorney General Mahbubey Alarm, Additional Attorney General Murad Reza, Deputy Attorney General Samarendranath Biswas and Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder stood for the state during the virtual hearing.

Describing the virtual hearing as a wonderful experience, Abdul Qaium said the lawyers took part in the hearing through videoconferencing from their homes and the court ordered protection of dolphins. “Today is a historic day for the High Court. The High Court entered the virtual world through the hearing of this case.”

According to a report published in an English national daily on May 10 on the killing of dolphins, a survey on dolphins of the Halda River was conducted from September 2018 to February 2019 with the help of UNDP.

According to the survey, there were 45 dolphins in the Halda River but 24 of them have been killed by the time.

According to the report, if the dolphins are killed in this way, the Halda River will be dolphin-free by 2022.

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