The High Court on Thursday asked the government to revoke all land leases granted to shipyards in protected forest areas.
The court also asked authorities concerned to preserve all gazetted and coastal forests under the Forest Act.
A bench comprised of justices Moinul Islam Chowdhury and Khandaker Diliruzzaman passed order on Thursday after a final hearing on a writ petition.
The court also declared illegal and revoked a lease of 7.1 acres of land, which the Chattogram district administration had granted to BBC Steel Company Ltd for construction of a ship-breaking yard in the forest area of Uttar Selimpur under Sitakunda upazila.
Lawyers Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Minhajul Haque Chowdhury and Saeed Ahmed Kabir represented the writ petitioners. Meanwhile, Barrister Mehdi Hasan Chowdhury stood for the BBC Steel Company.
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) served a legal notice on March 25 last year to the Chattogram district administration to revoke the lease. The district administration, however, took no action over the legal notice.
On April 28 last year, Bela filed a writ petition at the High Court challenging the legality of the lease agreement. On May 13, the High Court issued a rule asking the concerned authorities of the government and BBC Steel to explain why the lease agreement should not be declared illegal.
The Court also directed the authorities to halt construction of the ship-breaking yard in the area.
Petitioner lawyer Syeda Rizwana Hasan said that the Appellate Division in 2013 asked the government not to lease out land that is in coastal forests. But the Chattogram district administration made a contract with BBC Steel Company and leased 7.1 acres of land of coastal forest despite the court order.
BBC Steel Company's contract was renewed in March.