The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) has allowed the three-wheeler, commonly known as easy-bike, on all the roads across the country, except on the highways.
A three-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, on Monday (April 4) issued the order, modifying a High Court directive in this regard.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court amended the order of the High Court following an appeal petition. The apex court also directed the High Court to dispose of the matter immediately.
Barrister Tania Amir and Moniruzzaman Asad argued in favour of the petition.
The High Court bench of Justice Mamnoon Rahman and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman on December 15 in 2021 had issued the directive, imposing a ban on the import of battery-run easy-bike and asked the authorities concerned, including the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and other agencies, to remove existing ones from the roads immediately.
Following a writ petition, the High Court bench had also directed the authorities concerned to identify all illegal and unauthorised three-wheelers and easy-bikes running across the country and to take necessary steps.
Later, some members of the Bangladesh Electric Three-Wheeler Manufacturing and Merchant Association, including its President Kamal Uddin Ahmed and Secretary Md Ahsan Samad, filed a leave-to-appeal petition with the Appellate Division seeking modification of the HC order.
After hearing the petition, the apex court amended the HC order, saying that the battery-run easy-bikes can’t ply only on the highways.
Barrister Tania Amir, one of the counsels of the petition, said, “We have appealed to the Appellate Division and mentioned that thousands of people’s livelihood in the country rely on these vehicles. However, the government has made a draft policy for the import, manufacture and operation of these vehicles. According to the policy, easy-bikes can’t run on the highways. The Appellate Division has modified the High Court order as per the government policy and after seeing this application. Now the easy-bikes can run on the other roads except the highways.”
She also said, “Most of the easy-bikes in our country run by acid battery. The writ petitioner said that the acid batteries are harmful to the environment. However, the owners of the easy-bikes are running the vehicles on the roads with the government permission. Moreover, the policy says to keep charger station on the road like petrol pump. However, the lithium battery of easy-bikes that are running now, these will be finished by 2025. As a result, this transport will also become environmentally friendly.”
After the High Court’s order on December 15, lawyer Atiq Touhidul Islam, who argued for the writ petition, said that easy-bikes were illegally charged with batteries. These easy-bikes are harmful to the environment and human body. Besides, easy-bikes are plying on the roads without route permits. The government is not getting any revenue from the power sector of this easy-bike.
He had also said that the country has 40 lakh easy bikes running on electric charge illegally and these were imported from China without any permission from the BRTA.
The writ petition was filed in the High Court on December 13 on behalf of Kazi Jasimul Islam, president of Bagh Eco Motors Limited. In the writ petition, seven persons including industries secretary, road transport secretary and environment secretary were made defendants.
Many people said that movement of slow-moving easy-bikes and other three-wheelers on the highways has to be controlled on a priority basis in order to curb road accidents.
However, as a result of this order of the Appellate Division, the workers’ leaders have heaved a sigh of relief.
In a statement, Khalequzzaman Lipon, convener of the Rickshaw, Battery-run Rickshaw and Easybike Drivers Action Council, and Imran Habib Rumon, its member secretary, said that about five million people across the country, including drivers, mechanics, smallholders and garage owners, are directly involved with battery-run vehicles, including easy-bike. Indirectly, two and a half to three crore people depend on them.