The High Court has directed the government to give interest at current bank rates, with Tk15 lakh each in compensation money to the families of 18 victims who died in a boat-capsize disaster in Sandwip channel of Chattogram on 2 April 2017.
The HC gave the directive in its full verdict released on the Supreme Court website on Thursday.
According to the full text of the verdict, "Bangladesh Inland Water Transportation Corporation (BIWTC) and Chattogram District Council (CDC) each will have to hand over half of the total Tk2,70,00,000 in compensation money (15 lakh each to 18 families) within 30 working days."
Defendants will have to pay interest at a bank rate of 8% from the date of filing the case till the amount of compensation reaches the accounts of the families of the victims, it added.
On 30 June 2021, the HC bench of Justice Md Ashraful Kamal and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil handed down the historic verdict, following a writ petition filed seeking necessary directives to compensate the families of the victims.
The HC observed that both the entities were negligent in discharging their duties to ensure a safe journey for the victims in the Sandwip channel and they are responsible for the boat capsize that caused the death of 18 people.
The court said further, that "After ordering compensation, we have often observed that defendants are late in paying the compensation. That is why there is an obligation to pay compensation with interest at bank rates. Compensation is like a debt, so it has to be paid with interest.
Barrister Abdul Halim, lawyer of the plaintiff, told The Business Standard, "From now on, if a court orders in favor of compensation following a case of death or injury of a person in a river, sea, road, or any other sort of accident, then interest has to be paid with the compensation money awarded, from the day of the case filing."