Fixation of water tariff and performance bonus by Dhaka WASA illegal : HC17 March 2023
Staff Reporter :
The High Court on Thursday declared awarding the performance bonus to the employees of the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Dhaka WASA) is illegal.
It also declared the fixation of the water tariff by the Board of the Dhaka WASA without framing any rule is illegal and in violation of provisions of the WASA Act, 1996.
The High Court bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo delivered the verdict after hearing a writ petition filed by the Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB).
However, the High Court said, "Henceforth, fixation of water tariff and awarding of the performance bonus to the employees of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority is stayed till formulation of the rules and regulations as enshrined in Sections 48 and 49 of the Dhaka WASA Act, 1996".
In the verdict it further said, "Fixation of water tariff and awarding of the performance bonus to the employees of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority pronounced earlier is hereby condoned as of past and closed action".
Following the writ petition the HC bench on August 16 in 2022 issued an injunction against chairman, managing director and the board of the Dhaka WASA restraining them from distributing performance bonus to the employees till disposal of the rule issued by it.
It also issued a rule asking the concerned bodies of the government to explain in four weeks as to why awarding the performance bonus to the employees of the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority should not be declared illegal.
It also wanted to know in the rule as to why the fixation of the water tariff by the Board of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority without framing any rule and in violation of provisions of the WASA Act, 1996 should not be declared illegal.
Local Government Secretary, Dhaka WASA board, Dhaka WASA Chairman and other respondents have been asked to comply with the rule.
After hearing on the rules, the High Court bench on Thursday declared them absolute.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua appeared in the court hearing on behalf of the writ petitioner, while Barrister AM Masum and Barristr Sayed Mahsib Hossain represented the Dhaka WASA.
The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority took its last decision on July 7 last year increasing 5 percent of water tariff which was ordered to be implemented from September 1 in 2022.
According to the Section 21 of the Dhaka WASA Act, 1996, the authorities of the Dhaka WASA are supposed to be fix the water tariff by following the rules framed there under by the government. But untill now, the authorities have not framed any rules to deal with the matter of the Dhaka WASA Act, 1996.
In the 291stmeeting of Dhaka WASA Board on April 27 last year, it was decided to give Performance Award (Performance Bonus) to its employees, which will be equal to three basic salaries of each.
Barrister Jyotirmoy said, "The authorities of the Dhaka WASA cannot award performance bonuses to its officers and employees treating the organization as a business venture. The Managing Director and CEO of the Dhaka WASA for personal gain introduced this corporate practice of awarding performance bonus, which is against the provisions of the Dhaka WASA Act, 1996".