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2 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Pay Moon Cinema owner Tk 99cr: SC

STAFF REPORTER

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday verbally ordered the Freedom Fighters’ Welfare Trust to give Tk. 99 crore to the owner of Moon Cinema Hall. “Otherwise, we'll summon the authorities concerned before the apex court for violation of its order,” said a three-member bench of the Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, while hearing a contempt of court petition filed by Moon Cinema owner, the Bangladesh Italian Marble Works Ltd, seeking its directive on the matter.

The apex court also fixed July 12 for the next hearing on the petition, following a prayer by the attorney general seeking more time to prepare for the hearing.

Moon Cinema, which was located in Waize Ghat Road area of the capital, was handed over to the Freedom Fighters’ Welfare Trust during the Martial Law regime of 1975–79.

On January 18, the Appellate Division of the SC directed the Freedom Fighters’ Welfare Trust to pay Tk. 99 crore as compensation to the owner of the then Moon Cinema Hall by July 30. The apex court passed the order after hearing a contempt petition filed by the Bangladesh Italian Marble Works Ltd, which sought its directive on the matter.

In its order, the apex court ordered the trust and its managing director to pay the money in three instalments to Maksudul Alam, the managing director of the Bangladesh Italian Marble Works Ltd. It asked the authorities concerned to pay Tk. 25 crore in each of the first two instalments and the rest of the amount by July 30.

The Italian Marble Works filed a writ petition with the High Court (HC) in 2000, challenging the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution that validated the Martial Law Proclamation Orders between 1975 and 1979. Earlier, former president Ziaur

Rahman passed a decree in 1977, blocking challenges against the government’s decisions to declare certain properties as abandoned.

In a landmark verdict, the High Court (HC), on August 29, 2005, declared as illegal and void the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The HC also directed the government to release Moon Cinema Hall in favour of the company and asked the government to take steps to release its property in its original form.  On February 2, 2010, the Appellate Division of the SC upheld the HC verdict with some observations and modifications.

As the government did not return the property to the actual owner, Maksudul Alam filed a contempt of court petition with the SC in January 2013 against the authorities and Muktijodhha Kalyan Trust for not executing its verdict.

The Appellate Division ordered the authorities concerned to appoint an “experienced and neutral” engineer for the task and hand in a report. In January last year, the apex court directed Jamilur Reza Choudhury to assess the cost of the Moon Cinema Hall property, which has already been turned into a development structure.

Recently, Jamilur Reza Choudhury submitted a report to the SC by  assessing the cost of the Moon Cinema Hall property around Tk. 100 crore on the basis of the present value of its land and establishments built on it. The apex court gave the order after getting the report.

The Moon Cinema Hall in old Dhaka was declared abandoned during the 1971 Liberation War. The industries ministry later appointed the Bangladesh Freedom Fighters' Welfare Trust as its custodian. But Maksudul Alam, managing director of Bangladesh Italian Marble Works, claimed the ownership of the property.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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