The government officials are merely servants of the republic and they are not very very important person (VVIP), the High Court observed today.
Only the president and prime minister of the country are the VVIP (very very important person) and security issues are involved with regard to their movements, said the HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader during hearing a writ petition filed in connection with death of Titash Ghosh.
Following the petition, the HC bench issued a rule asking the authorities concerned of the government to explain in four weeks why they should not be directed to give Tk 3 crore as compensation to the family of Titash Ghosh, who died in an ambulance on a ferry on the way to Dhaka on July 25.
The court also directed the public administration secretary for appointing an officer not below the rank of additional secretary to conduct an enquiry into the incident and submit the enquiry report before the court in three weeks.
The HC bench also fixed August 28 for hearing and passing further order on the issue.
Rights organisation Legal Support and People’s Rights filed the petition with the HC on July 30 seeking its directives to the authorities to give Tk 3 crore compensation to the family of Titash.
In the petition, the organisation also requested the HC to direct the authorities concerned to take steps so that ferries prioritise ambulances carrying critical patients, to order the shipping secretary to conduct an inquiry into the incident and to ask the authorities to take appropriate legal action against those responsible.
During the hearing today, Advocate Zahir Uddin Limon, chairman of Legal Support and People’s Rights, told the HC that an ambulance carrying patient and transports of fire service and police are given priority in passing the ferry in abroad.
The ferries are not halted there for any government official, he said.
The lawyer said the ferry, on which the ambulance carrying Titash, a critically injured patient, was on, delayed loading vehicles for three hours while waiting for a joint secretary at Kathalbari Ferry Terminal in Munshiganj on July 25.
Replying to a question, he told the court that the president and prime minister are the VVIPs and the joint secretary for whom the ferry was waiting is not a VVIP.
Deputy Attorney General Abdullah-Al-Mahmud Bashar told the court that the employees of the ferry may be responsible for the death of Titash, but the government is not responsible for the incident.
Thirteen-year-old Titash, a student of Kalia Pilot Secondary School in Narail, was critically injured in a motorbike accident on July 24.
A day later, doctors of a local hospital referred him to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) for an emergency operation.
The family, along with the 13-year-old boy, was traveling to Dhaka in an ambulance, which arrived at Kathalbari Ferry Terminal in Munshiganj around 8:00pm on July 25.
A ferry called “Ferry Cumilla” was reportedly already at the pontoon, which had its gate closed and was not loading vehicles.
The family said the ferry, on which the ambulance carrying Titash was on, delayed loading vehicles for three hours while waiting for a joint secretary.
Ferry authorities said they were waiting for the arrival of Md Abdus Sabur Mondal, the head of Digital Service and Public Service Innovation Cluster and E-Service Implementation Specialist of the Access to Information (a2i) Programme at the Prime Minister’s Office.
The ambulance was stuck on the pontoon and could not reverse or shift to another because of the queue of vehicles in front and behind it.
The ferry started loading vehicles around 10:20pm when the authorities learnt that the government official was closed by.
Around 11:00pm, the official arrived and the ferry started moving. Titash died on the ferry, family sources said.