BLAST and Mrs. Zohora Khanum vs. Bangladesh and others [‘Lake Development’ Case]

Writ Petition No. 7483 of 1997

High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripaksha (RAJUK) granted a 75 year lease of 220 acres of land in the Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara Residential area, including areas of Gulshan and Banani Lakes earmarked as open space, to a private company, Indus Valley Investment (Pvt.) Ltd. under the name of the “Gulshan, Banani and Baridhara Lake Development Scheme.” There were allegedly grave procedural irregularities involved in the process, and the directions given by the Ministry of Establishment and Works were virtually ignored. The grant would allow the respondent company to build a club house, floating restaurant with landscape parking, shopping arcade and malls, a five star hotel and sky scrapers, thereby affecting the local inhabitants’ right to access to the open space, the lakes, and also depriving them of their right to peaceful possession of property together with its appurtenant amenities and surroundings as provided in the master plan adopted under the Town Improvement Act. After the service of Notice Demanding Justice by the petitioners, the agreement was allegedly cancelled, but the petitioners were not provided with an office copy of the order or reply to the notice.

The petitioners argued that the impugned action violated mandatory requirements of Sections 38, 39, 40, 43, 45, 51, 51A, 66,73, 74, 101and 117 of the Town Improvement Act, 1953 and Section 12 of the Environment Conservation Act, 1995. The grant in favour of the company was grossly arbitrary, discriminatory and mala fide inasmuch as the mandatory requirements regarding public notification, advertisements, notices and approvals and sanction of the controlling authority were disregarded, constituting flagrant violations of the right to life and equality as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Order: The High Court issued a Rule Nisi on 24.11.1997 directing the respondents to show cause why the grant of lease in favour of Indus Valley Investment Pvt. Ltd. by RAJUK should not be declared to be made without any lawful authority and of no legal effect.

Laws Cited: Constitution, Articles 27, 31; The Town Improvement Act, 1953; The Environment Conservation Act, 1995

Pending hearing


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