Demolish it in 90 days
Declaring the BGMEA building in the capital's Hatirjheel project illegal, the High Court in the full text of its verdict yesterday ordered the government to demolish the structure within 90 days and use the land in the public interest.
It directed Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) to refund money within 12 months to buyers who had bought flats in the 15-storey building.
Deputy Attorney General Amit Talukder told The Daily Star that the issue would now be settled at the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court as the BGMEA could lodge a leave to appeal petition upon receiving the HC verdict.
The HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain in its judgement observed that the high rise stood in the Hatirjheel project like a cancerous growth, and it would swamp the whole city unless it was removed forthwith.
The HC released the 69-page judgement after the judges signed it on Monday night, said court sources.
The HC bench on April 3, 2011 had announced the verdict after holding hearings on a suo moto rule it had issued earlier over the legality of the building.
Two days later, the Supreme Court stayed the verdict for six weeks and asked the BGMEA to file a leave to appeal petition against the HC verdict on receiving its certified copy within six weeks.
The SC stayed the order following a petition filed by then BGMEA president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin seeking stay on the HC verdict.
Later, the SC extended the stay order until the full verdict of the HC was released.
In the full text of the verdict, the HC said, “Most insalubriously, it had been built by displaying bizarre audacity to put a stumbling block to part of Hatirjheel Project by impinging upon the Begunbari Canal, culpably filling in the same, obnoxiously imperilling the expected pageantry of the project.”
The BGMEA, said the verdict, had acted in the most decadent, disdainful and imperious manner by pretending that its members' stentorian economic muscle gave them supra legal status.
They have raised a building on government land, effectively frustrating the long cherished Hatirjheel project, it added.
“The very presence of the building shows that a conglomerate of financially affluent people can treat with scorn and unravel our law with impunity in a nauseating manner. Such a view is simply repulsive to notions of justice,” observed the judges.
“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,” mentioned the judgement.
Contacted, BGMEA's counsel Mustafizur Rahman Khan said they will file a leave to appeal petition with the Supreme Court against the HC verdict at the earliest.