BGMEA asked to return money

M Moneruzzaman

The High Court on Monday released its full verdict asking Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association to return money to all buyers of floor space in the BGMEA Bhaban within 12 months.
The court asked the government to demolish in 90 days the 15-story BGMEA Bhaban built on Hatirjheel Lake.
The verdict said that the transactions over selling of BGMEA Bhaban floor space ‘stand vitiated.’
The verdict described the BGMEA Bhaban ‘a malignant growth.’
The verdict was delivered on April 3, 2011 by a two-judge bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain.
Release of the full verdict paved the way for quick disposal of the leave-to appeal petition pending with the Appellate Division, said Supreme Court lawyer DHM Muniruddin, who in a petition sought the demolition of the BGMEA Bhaban.
On April 5, 2011, the Appellate Division’s chamber judge following a petition from BGMEA, stayed
the High Court verdict and asked the BGMEA to file a regular appeal attaching a copy of the HC verdict.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Rokanuddin Mahmud appeared for BGMEA, the association of apparel industry owners.
BGMEA could not file the regular appeal until the HC released its full verdict.
On October 3, 2010, the HC issued a suo moto rule seeking the government explanation regarding the BGMEA Bhaban following a New Age report published on the previous day under the headline ‘No plan to demolish the unauthorised BGMEA building soon’.
DHM Muniruddin drew the court’s attention to the New Age report.
The HC verdict asked the government to demolish the BGMEA Bhaban built illegally and said that the huge expenditure on it could be no ground to let the building stand.
‘The flat buyers, can, however, not, in our view, claim interest, because, as we look at it, they are guilty of contributory negligence.  They had actual or constructive knowledge about BGMEA’s bareness of title and the illegality as to the construction of the building,’ said the verdict.
It said the building is liable to be reduced to extinction also on the ground that it was built in breach of wetland law, and payment of fine cannot make the wrong, right.
‘Even RAJUK cannot allow someone to raise structures in breach of these laws,’ it said.
It is beyond argument that the building has been constructed in a manner which is contrary to Dhaka city’s Master Plan and development plan, said the verdict.
It said, section 3(B)(5) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1948 does not  provide for legalizing unapproved constructions on receipt of fines.
The HC verdict also referred to the Appellate Division judgement on the RAJUK-versus A. Rouf Chowdhury, the so-called RANGS Building Case, and said that a high rise built encroaching upon the land reserved for the Civil Aviation Authority, is liable to be scrambled.
‘We must put on record that even the government is totally handicapped in this respect because it cannot transfer this land to any individual or even to a conglomerate for the latter’s private purpose as the land was acquired for public purpose,’ said the verdict.
It said, ‘It is therefore, obvious that the Rule is destined to see the face of success on this count alone, and the building is fated to be scrapped and deflated to ground as it does guilefully stand on the government owned land.’
‘We cannot allow a class of privileged people to flout the law because they are rich: Lord Denning’s command must not be ignored; “Be you ever so high, the law is above you,”’ said the verdict.
It said, ‘Most insalubriously, it had been built by displaying bizarre audacity to put an stumbling block on part of Hatirjheel Project,   by impinging upon Begunbari Canal, culpably filling in the same, obnoxiously imperiling the expected pageantry of the Project.’
‘In our view, unless this malignant growth is evaporated forthwith, it will swamp the whole city,’ said the verdict.

Source: New Age


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