The first case under the Land Crime Protection and Remedy Act-2023 was filed in a Chattogram court on Monday, following the law's passage in parliament on 12 September.
Ashok Kumar Chowdhury, a 76-year-old man from the Padua area in Rangunia upazila of Chattogram, filed the case with the Senior Judicial Magistrate Court-1. Ashok Kumar filed the case to recover his ancestral 142.5-decibel land, which has been unlawfully occupied for the past 45 years. He has pleaded to reinstate the original condition of a pond, which was altered by the illegal occupant.
On Monday, the court accepted the case and instructed the PBI (Police Bureau of Investigation) to submit an investigative report. On 27 September, the plaintiff's attorney, Abu Sayem Mohammad Nasim Uddin, formally filed the case.
This case under the new land law involves a total of 15 defendants. Among them are individuals ranging in age from 22 to 80, all hailing from North Padua village in Padua Union.
They are accused of wrongful land possession and unauthorized modifications, which may lead to sentences of 2 to 4 years if proven guilty under Sections 7, 13, and 16 of the new land law.
The property in question originally belonged to the late Indra Prabha Chowdhury and subsequently passed to her adopted son, Ashok Kumar Chowdhury Prakash Ashok Barua, under Hindu law. Indra Prabha Chowdhury initially entrusted Payari Mohan Das with the responsibility of cultivating the land to yield crops. However, he failed to fulfill this obligation after a few years. Despite repeated pleas from Ashok Kumar Chowdhury, the defendants did not relinquish their illegal possession, leading to the formal complaint filed on 10 July.
Efforts were made to mediate the dispute through the South Rangunia police station, with the proposal of a land survey to determine rightful ownership. Unfortunately, the defendants did not consent to this resolution. The case, if proven, carries significant penalties for the accused parties involved in the wrongful land occupation and pond alteration.