HC gives ruling on Ashrayan Project on Netrokona playground

Changing the classification of the land while the matter is undergoing trial at a lower court is misuse of power, the court says

The High Court on Sunday gave its ruling regarding the Ashrayan Project on a playground at Kendua in Netrokona. 

The court also ordered 14 government organisations including the deputy commissioner and UNO to stay the project at the historic playground of Balaishimul Mouza under Kendua upazila of Netrokona district, for three months. 

The High Court bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo issued the ruling on Sunday. 

The ruling comes after the preliminary hearing of a petition filed in public interest by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), according to a media statement. 

The High Court also directed the Netrokona deputy commissioner to submit a report to the court within 60 days.

The state attorney told the court that the 12 of the 36 houses already built on the playground will remain there. 

However, the High Court said that changing the classification of the land while the matter was under a trial at a lower court is tantamount to misuse of power. 

When the initiative was taken to change the classification of 0.46 acres of land from 1.80 acres of land identified as "playground" under Kendua upazila of Netrokona district, the local residents appealed to the concerned authorities demanding not to change the classification.

The local people filed a case on May 30, 2022 in the Kendua Assistant Judge Court, demanding a temporary ban on the change of the class designated as a playground and declaration of ownership of the land by the local people.

The application of the villagers was rejected by the Assistant Judge Court on June 5, 2022.

Aggrieved by the order, the local residents filed a mis-appeal. The District Judge Court on July 18, 2022 upheld the order dated June 5, 2022 arguing that the deputy commissioner had already changed the category of the playground.

During the initial hearing of BELA'S case, the High Court directed the deputy attorney general to present the government's statement on the matter.