Students petition SC against civic agency

They say affordable student accommodation is unavailable, accuse govt of failing to provide it

Hasnat Malik November 11, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Around 30 students have gone to the Supreme Court against the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) actions against the hostels they live in.

The students – males and females –study in different colleges and universities in Islamabad and have filed an application to become party to a case relating to nonconfirming use of residential houses. The application has been moved by Advocate Zulfiqar Ahmad Bhutta.

In compliance with past SC orders, the CDA is taking action against all businesses, including guest houses, which are situated in residential areas.

The application states that the duty of the municipal administration is to prepare a master plan to meet with civil requirements such as firefighting, food safety, and drinking water supply, but the CDA has failed on all of these fronts.

It is further contended that the government, under the constitutional obligation is bound to provide facilities to students for educational purposes.

Earlier, the Supreme Court on October 26 expressed its dissatisfaction over the three-year timeframe given by the federal government to shift private schools out of residential areas.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, questioned whether the court has to wait for three years for the law to be implemented.

Earlier, the CDA submitted a report stating that federal departments were still occupying 13 residential houses. The authority added that it had issued a final warning to vacate these residences, otherwise they would be sealed without further notice.

So far 725 houses have been brought to conforming use. As a result, the total number of non-conforming use cases was reduced to 641 houses, including 359 schools, 90 hostels, and 100 guesthouses.

The CDA told the SC that it has also taken action against guest houses and hostels, with 10 guest houses being sealed.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2016.


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