SC to hear Ashiyan City plea against HC order

The Supreme Court’s chamber judge on Monday refused to stay a High Court order that directed Rajuk to immediately stop all activities of Ashiyan City including its land filling, advertisements, and selling of plots.

Ashiyan City, a housing project, which had a conditional and partial approval from the housing and public works ministry to develop land in Holan and Ashkona of the capital, has filed a petition with the SC on January 9 seeking stay on the HC’s January 2 directives.

On Monday, chamber judge of the Appellate Division of SC sent the petition to the full bench of the apex court for its hearing, saying that it has earlier been settled by this court in the Modhumoti Model Town case that nobody can fill up low lands and free flood zones without approval from the government.

Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, the chamber judge, also fixed January 20 for hearing the petition at the full bench.

Following a writ petition, the HC on January 2 ordered Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakhya to stop all activities of unauthorised housing projects including their land filling, advertisements, and selling of plots in and around Dhaka.

The HC the same day stayed for three months Ashiyan City’s site clearance certificate, issued by the Department of Environment, and the renewal of the certificate.

The DoE issued the certificate to Ashiyan City on December 24, 2009, and renewed it on June 12, 2012.

On January 2, the HC also stayed an order of the Ministry of Environment that reduced Ashiyan City’s penalty for illegally filling up water bodies.

The DoE in November, 2011, fined Ashiyan City Tk 50 lakh for destroying wetlands, flood plains, aquatic life and local ecology by illegal land filling in Ashkona. The ministry had later reduced the fine to Tk 5 lakh.

The HC asked the managing director of Ashiyan City to immediately submit a list of plots he had already sold to people and all papers and documents relating to the approval of the housing project.

Iqbal Kabir Lytton, a counsel for the petitioners, told The Daily Star the HC January 2 directives will remain in force until the SC stays those.

Rafique-ul Huq and Abdul Matin Khasru argued for Ashyan City, while Mahmudul Islam appeared for the writ petitioners.

Source: The Daily Star