The High Court has asked the government not to extend the fire and building safety programme of Accord, the platform of European Union buyers and retailers, in Bangladesh beyond May 31 until further order.
The bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Salim passed the order on April 4 after hearing a writ petition filed by Smart Group in April 2017 after Accord had decided to terminate business relations with the group.
According petitioner’s lawyer M Yousuf Ali, the High Court on October 12, 2017 asked the secretaries of commerce and labour ministries to explain their failure to establish a coordinated and duly monitored regime with the government and Accord.
The court had also asked the secretaries to explain why they would not be directed to renegotiate the term of the National Tripartite Plan of Action to ensure more equitable and coordinated functions of all the stakeholders under the initiative.
The lawyer said that Accord on October 26, 2017 published a statement on its website stating that the government had agreed to extend the initiative of the EU retailers for three more years, but during the hearing of the write petition on April 4, 2018, the government told the court that the government was not aware of such agreement.
Lawyer KS Salauddin Ahmed represented Accord in the court while deputy attorney general Kazi Zeenat Haq was present for the government.
After the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed more than 1,100 people, mostly apparel workers, in April 2013, the EU retailers formed the Accord undertaking a five-year plan which set timelines and accountability for inspections and training and workers’ empowerment programme.
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