Writ petition seeking Odhikar's registration dismissed
The High Court today (July 27, 2022) dismissed the writ petition filed by non-governmental organisation "Odhikar" challenging the legality of the government's decision of not renewing its registration.
The NGO Affairs Bureau on June 5 this year cancelled Odhikar's registration, which expired in March 2015, saying that the organisation published misleading information about various extrajudicial killings, alleged disappearances and murders, which have severely tarnished Bangladesh's global image.
Odhikar is reportedly one of the few organisations that have routinely logged cases of enforced disappearances and published quarterly and annual reports detailing the incidents. They also support and mobilise the families of enforced disappearance victims.
Today, the HC bench of Justice Md Khairuzzaman and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir Lytton delivered the verdict after Odhikar's lawyer Ruhul Amin Bhuiyan said that his client will not proceed with the writ petition as it has submitted an appeal to the office of the secretary concerned of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) against the NGO Bureau's decision.
After the HC delivered the verdict, lawyer Ruhul Amin Bhuiyan told The Daily Star that Odhikar will take next steps after receiving the decision from the PMO office to this effect.
Replying to a query, the lawyer said there is no legal bar for Odhikar to run its functions as a volunteer organisation.
Odhikar is not just getting foreign donations as its registration was not renewed, Ruhul Amin Bhuiyan said.
Replying to another query, he said the NGO Affairs Bureau on June 5 this year refused to renew the registration of Odhikar stating that it has not provided necessary documents to the office.
Contacted, Deputy Attorney General Kazi Mynul Hassan told The Daily Star that Odhikar has no registration, and it cannot run functions from now on.
Odhikar, established in October, 1994, applied to the director general of the NGO Affairs Bureau on September 25, 2014 for renewal of its registration.
As the NGO affairs kept the application pending, the organisation filed the writ with the HC in 2019, challenging the inaction of the bureau to renew its registration and seeking necessary order for the renewal.
Following the petition, the HC on May 13 of that year, issued a rule questioning the inaction of the NGO Affairs Bureau.
Contacted, Advocate Ruhul Amin Bhuiyan said the comment made by the Deputy Attorney General is not correct as Odhikar needs registration only for foreign donations.