ASK lawyer says no legal bar for ASK to continue operations in its Lalmatia office
The High Court has stayed Rajuk's (Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha) mobile court order which fined the human rights organization Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), and ordered them to vacate their Lalmatia office in Dhaka.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman handed down the order on Sunday.
The High Court also delivered a ruling that the concerned authorities must explain in four weeks why the Rajuk mobile court order should not be declared illegal, ASK lawyer Advocate ZI Khan Panna told the reporters.
Therefore, there is no legal bar for ASK to continue operations in its Lalmatia office, he added.
On November 15, Human rights group Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) expressed deep concern about Rajuk’s (Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha) mobile court drive that fined and ordered the organization to leave its Lalmatia office within two months.
Sheepa Hafiza, ASK executive director said: "Such a drive against a rights body is a matter of serious concern and worries ASK. The mobile court threatens the existence of all non-profit, service-oriented, development and rights organizations, as this will make them shrink their overall activities.”
She said this at an emergency press briefing held at its Lalmatia office in Dhaka on November 15.
Earlier on November 14, a Rajuk mobile court fined the organization Tk2 lakh for operating in a residential area, and ordered them to vacate the premises within two months.
It also demolished part of its garage which was constructed flouting Rajuk's approved plan.
The mobile court also asked officials of the organization as to why they were running an office in a residential area.
Responding to which, ASK officials said they run their office maintaining all the conditions and agreements put forth for a tenant.
According to ASK, they have been carrying out human rights activities in Bangladesh since 1986 and their registration with the NGO Affairs Bureau has the Lalmatia office address.
"The mobile court fined us under the Building Construction Act 1952, which is directly related to the owner or construction firm of the building, but ASK is nothing but a tenant here. Thus, this law does not apply to us," Hafiza added.
She claimed that during the drive, when this issue was raised to Rajuk's mobile court, the magistrate threatened to seal ASK's office and arrest its officials, adding that despite repeated requests, they (ASK) were not provided with a copy of the order.