HC starts hearing Khaleda’s writ on cantt house

Hearing adjourned till May 25, govt directed not to disturb her till then
At last the High Court took up hearing on writ petition challenging government notice asking BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia to vacate her cantonment house.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Moinul Islam Chowdhury started the hearing Monday although the writ was refused earlier by four other benches.
After hearing both sides for almost two hours, the court adjourned hearing till May 25, 2009 and directed all respondents jointly not to disturb Khaleda Zia on any excuse in connection with the property suit.
All respondents have been directed to make sure that her fundamental right is not violated in any manner in connection with this house during this time. If any violation takes place, Khaleda Zia may inform the court of it in a supplementary affidavit.
The court also said this order will not restrain the government from going ahead with lawful action after expiry of the deadline for replying to subsequent notice on May 22 as confirmed by the Attorney General.
During hearing TH Khan submitted that government cannot raise question as to legality of granting lease of cantonment residence to Khaleda Zia after long 29 years.
He said the first notice was final notice for terming the lease of cantonment illegal and ordering Khaleda Zia directly to vacate the house without giving chance to defend herself. Effort to rectify error of first by a subsequent notice is not tenable.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said as the second notice is a show cause notice to which Khaleda Zia has already replied and the government has not taken any step on the basis of her reply, no cause of action has been created to file this writ.
He said that a copy of petition which was given to Attorney General office shows that Khaleda Zia authorized a person but it was not signed by that person. As there was some mistake, second notice was issued to rectify it and Khaleda Zia has been given 15 days time to vacate the house but no threat has been issued to vacate the house. “Let us wait till May 22 to see what decision the government takes in this regard then,” Attorney General added.
Attorney General said a property of defence service cannot be transferred to a civilian. Act of taking cantonment house, by Khaleda Zia knowing that another house in Gulshan was also given to her on June 12 1981, was illegal.
When court told Attorney General that government should have issued show cause notice at first, Attorney General said it has been rectified in the second notice and now first notice is non-existent in the eye of law.
He said that the court should not give any order on a pre-mature issue because no concrete action to implement her eviction has been taken. It is a democratic country and granting cantonment house to anybody is not acceptable, he said. He said that Bangabhaban cannot be handed over and likewise residence of army chief cannot be given to anybody.
The court asked Attorney General to explain about opposite side’s claim that issuance of second notice after taking time by Attorney General amounts to fraud upon court. Attorney General replied that time was taken for preparation and it was not fraud upon court because Khaleda Zia has not been evicted yet.

Courtesy of The Bangladesh Today

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