The Supreme Court (SC) has stayed a High Court (HC) order that issued an injunction asking Dhaka Wasa not to slap the new tariff until August 10.
The SC stay order for 16 weeks clears the way for Wasa to implement a 25 percent hike in the supply of water.
Chamber judge of the Appellate Division of the SC Justice Md Nuruzzaman passed the order following a petition filed by Wasa, seeking a stay on the HC's injunction order.
Now the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) has no bar on realising the hiked tariff from its household customers, said lawyers.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented Wasa while Barrister Aneek R Haque and Advocate Tanvir Ahmed moved for the writ petitioner.
"Wasa moved to realise the hiked tariff as it gradually improved the service quality. The High Court previously issued the injunction illogically," the attorney general told The Business Standard.
Mahbubey Alam added that Wasa hiked the water tariff following legal procedures. "Therefore, the Appellate Division stayed the HC injunction," he further said.
On June 22, the virtual HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim issued an injunction on the price hike, making it effective until August 10, considering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on human lives.
On June 23,the state-run agency moved to the Appellate Division seeking a stay on the HC order.
In February, Wasa raised water prices for residential and commercial users in Dhaka and Chattogram.
The price of each unit (1,000 litres) of water supplied to households rose by 24.97 percent to Tk14.46 in Dhaka. The tariff on water supply for commercial users has been set at Tk40 in the capital, marking a 7.99 percent jump.
The Local Government Division issued a notice regarding the hike in February making the new rates effective from April 1.
On June 14, Supreme Court Lawyer Barrister Tanvir Ahmed filed a writ challenging the tariff hike. Six entities were made respondents to the writ including the Ministry of Local Government, law secretary and the Wasa managing director.
The writ petition said Wasa hiked the tariff without improving the quality of the utility service.
In September 2019, supply water tariff was hiked 5 percent. According to the Water Supply & Sewerage Authority Act-1996, water tariff can be hiked not more than once in a year and not more than 5 percent. The new tariff will be published 30 days before making it effective.
But the Wasa published the tariff hike notification on its website and the notification does not have the date mentioned.
Referring to the Wasa act, many argue the frequent tariff hikes are illogical and illegal as well.