ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday said that the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) cannot carry out constructions errant to the master plan of Islamabad.
The bench said that the prime goal before the court was the acquisition of land not the construction work on it.
The four-member bench of SC headed by Justice Musheer Alam presided over Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Housing Scheme case.
The counsel of affectees of Sector I-14, Faisal Naqvi, became part of the hearing via video-link.
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Justice Aijazul Hasan said the court would like to see the ordinance as per which the Capital Development Authority (CDA) could handover land to a third party after acquiring it from locals.
Naqvi explained that initially CDA acquires land for the project and then transfers it to FGEHF and contended that entire Islamabad was built this way.
He added that CDA, not being a development agency itself, assigns construction work to different agencies. Naqvi asserted that the authority did not acquire land for the related housing scheme.
Justice Qazi Faez Isa asked of the general method used by CDA for land acquisition and added that how the land was acquired for the Metro Bus between the twin cities.
The counsel replied that the land for the metro bus project was acquired by the district administration.
Justice Isa remarked that FGEHF could only carry out development work as per the master plan of Islamabad and said, “ If width of a road is mentioned as 40 feet (ft) in the master plan, how can the foundation change it to 20 ft? “
Naqvi argued that if only CDA was allowed to do construction work in Zone-1 then all private housing schemes should be removed from there. At this, Justice Aijazul Hasan said that it was purely a different matter as by-laws devised by CDA must be followed during development work on private land.
He added that the issue of land acquisition in a justified manner from the locals was the matter before the court, not the construction work.
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Justice Isa said that in the related case, FGEHF had asked CDA to acquire land for the housing scheme and asked, “Will the matter be over if the federal government fails in acquiring land?”
The counsel said that the federal government could issue orders to CDA for land acquisition. Justice Hasan remarked, “On one side you say that CDA can acquire land on its own while on the other, you are saying that FGEHF can also ask the government to acquire land for them.” The justice asked which law should exactly be followed during the procurement of land.
He said that prima facie, the applicants were only seeking land acquisition, be it done by anybody.
The arguments of the counsel were underway but due to time constraints, the case was adjourned until January 9.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2020.