Monday, April 2, 2018 11:37:02 PM
Staff Reporter :
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Monday gets one more year and ten days for demolishing its multi-storied building constructed illegally at Begunbari and Hatirjheel Lake in Dhaka.
The Supreme Court gave BGMEA one year time from April 12 for compliance with its order to demolish the illegal structure. It means the BGMEA will have to demolish the building by April 12 next year.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hussain passed the order following a petition filed by BGMEA seeking a one year time for demolishing its building.
The BGMEA also submitted an undertaking to the apex court yesterday saying that they would comply with its earlier order for demolishing the building by April 12 next year.
The apex court on March 27 asked BGMEA to submit an undertaking to get a further one-year extension of the deadline for demolishing its building. The court expressed serious discontent over its repeated pleas for time extension. On March 28, the apex court ordered the BGMEA to modify its undertaking and submit it to the court on April 2 specifying who will be liable if the BGMEA building is not demolished in the next one year.
Earlier on June 2, 2016, the SC upheld a 2011 High Court verdict that ordered demolition of the BGMEA building.
The HC ordered the BGMEA authorities to demolish the building within three months, saying it was built on a land acquired through forgery, and that a part of the Begunbari canal was illegally filled with earth for constructing it.
On March 5 in 2018, the leaders of the BGMEA appealed for the third time with the SC to extend more time to relocate the building. The Appellate Division on Sunday heard that prayer and fixed Tuesday to pass order on it. But on Tuesday the SC asked the BGMEA to submit an undertaking. The BGMEA submitted it but the SC asked them to modify the undertaking.
On April 3 in 2011, the HC bench of Justice A H M Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain declared construction of the BGMEA building illegal.
The HC released the full text of its verdict on March 19 in 2013. The BGMEA authorities filed leave to appeal petition on May 21 in 2013. After hearing, a four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by the then Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha rejected the appeal petition filed by the BGMEA on June 2, 2016.
In December 2016, President of the BGMEA filed a petition seeking review of the Supreme Court judgment. The Supreme Court on March 5, 2017 dismissed the petition seeking review of its judgment that upheld the High Court verdict for demolishing the BGMEA complex.
A three-member bench of the Appellate Division of the SC headed by the then Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the order after two days' hearing.
Then the SC asked the BGMEA authorities to submit a petition seeking time to relocate the building. Following this SC order, BGMEA filed an application with the SC seeking three years time.
After hearing the petition, the SC on March 12 in 2017 granted six months time to the BGMEA. The time limit expired on September 12 in 2017.
The SC extended this time on October 8 in 2017 for another seven months after hearing a petition filed on August 23 in 2017.
Then the apex court said that it was the last chance for BGMEA. The court will not extend the deadline for relocating the BGMEA building after six months.
A five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by the then Acting Chief Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah passed the order.
This time limit will expire on April 12 in 2018. Meanwhile, the BGMEA authorities filed another time-prayer to the SC seeking one more year time on March 5 in 2018. Hearing on that prayer is now continuing.
The SC said in its full verdict that although both -- site clearance certificate and environment clearance certificates -- were required for the commercial building, the "petitioner failed/did not care to obtain" those.
No commercial establishment can be set up without the environment clearance from the Department of Environment as stated in Section 12 of the Environment Conservation Act 1995 and Rule 7(4) of the Environment Conservation Rules 1997, it said.
Since the water bodies "never belonged to the petitioner, at any point of time", the construction violates "Section 5 of the "Joladhar Ain, 2000" as well as Sections "6(Uma)" and 12 of the Environment Conservation Act 1995", it observed.
It said the two natural water bodies, mentioned in Dhaka Metropolitan Development Plan, Vol-II (urban area plan of 1995-2005), drain one-third of Dhaka city's storm and waste-water and retain some rainwater for recreational opportunities.
Any commercial building changing the water bodies' nature and character in violation of "Joladhar Ain, 2000" is unlawful and violates Environment Conservation Act 1995, it said. Also, the Export Promotion Bureau has no right to allot the property, it added.
The construction violates "section 3 of the Building Construction Act 1952" other rules under it, reads the verdict.
Moreover, the HC order was "well reasoned and based on proper appreciation of facts and circumstances as well as the law", it said.
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