Thursday, 2 December 2010

Khaleda Zia's appeal on cantonment house dismissed

BLHouse Report

The leave to appeal of Begum Khaleda Zia regarding her Dhaka cantonment house was dismissed at the Supreme Court as 'not pressed' without hearing on it yesterday (November 29).

As per the ruling, the government decision evicting Khaleda Zia, former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition, from the cantonment house will remain effective and inforce, said lawyers.

At the beginning of the hearing at the Appellate Division, Khaleda Zia's counsel Justice TH Khan sought the court's permission to hear first her contempt of court petition filed against the government and the Dhaka cantonment board but the court repeatedly urged him to arrange hearing on the leave-to-appeal first.

TH Khan placed his law points and logics in favour of hearing the contempt petition first but the court said the leave appeal should be heard first as per cause list.

At this stage, the court witnessed heated exchange of words among the pro-BNP and pro-Awami League lawyers.

Thus, about 90 minutes passed away but no hearing was possible. Then at about 11:00 am, the three-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque delivered the ruling dismissing the leave appeal as 'not pressed'.

The court order stated that the counsels of the petitioner, Khaleda Zia, took 90 minutes but did not start the hearing on the leave-to-appeal despite repeated requests by the court. So, both the appeal and petition were dismissed, said lawyers.

The court also dismissed 'as not pressed' her another petition that sought the court's order to keep the cantonment house's structure unchanged and to give back her the house from where she was evicted from on November 14.

But, the court didn't dismissed the contempt of court petition and set today for hearing on it today (Tuesday). The lawyers of Khaleda Zia decided not to take part at the hearing today, according to sources.

After the ruling, Khaleda Zia's counsel Justice TH Khan told journalists that he didn't prayed to the court to withdraw the leave appeal rather to hear the contempt of court petition first.

He continued, "I has been praying for about 90 minutes. But the court didn't give me the opportunity. We sought one week time for taking preparation to hear the leave-to-appeal. It didn't give us the time even didn't permit for a tea break."

Supreme Court Bar Association President Khandaker Mahbub Hossain and Barrister Moudud Ahmed also represented Khaleda while Attorney general Mahbubey Alam argued for the state.

Mahbubey Alam told journalists that the Appellate Division dismissed the leave-to-appeal as 'not pressed' since lawyers of Khaleda Zia didn't place their arguments on it eve after the court repeatedly urged them to do so.

After the ruling of the apex court, the pro-BNP lawyers came out of the court and agitated on the Supreme Court  premises in protest of the order.

Meanwhile, law and order situation was tightened in and our of the apex court through deploying additional members of law enforcing agencies. The dog squad and members of intelligence wings with plain clothes were also deployed.

Only officials of the SC, lawyers and journalists were allowed to enter the court premises after thorough security checking.

Khaleda Zia on November 8 filed the leave-to-appeal against a High Court judgment that rejected her Writ petition filed challenging a government notice that asked her to vacate the residence in Dhaka cantonment.

The government served the notice her last year to vacate the house and the HC on October 13 rejected her Writ petition that was filed challenging the notice.

The HC in its judgment asked the government to allow Khaleda Zia 30 days, that expired on November 12, to vacate the house.

Challenging the HC judgment, Khaleda Zia filed the leave-to-appeal which the full bench of the Appellate Division on November 10 adjourned till November 29.

In the meantime on November 13, the government forcibly evicted her from the house.

Then, she filed the contempt of court petition against the government and the cantonment board for forcibly evicting her before disposing of the leave-to-appeal pending with the Appellate division.

After assassination of former president and her husband Ziaur Rahman on May 30, 1981, then President leased the house to the Zia family. The present cabinet, led by Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, on April 8 last year cancelled the lease.

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