SHC rejects plea against construction in gymkhana

Request for formation of special bench to hear sugar mills owners' plea referred to SHC chief justice


Our Correspondent July 29, 2020

The Sindh High Court (SHC) rejected on Tuesday the Sindh government's plea challenging the verdict passed by a single bench, allowing the Karachi Gymkhana administration to continue construction on its premise.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Khadim Hussain M Shaikh and Justice Arshad Hussain Khan was hearing the plea.

During the hearing, Justice Shaikh directed Sindh advocate general Salman Talibuddin to present all the relevant documents for the court to review. To this end, Talibuddin claimed that this implied that the SHC was restricting the Sindh government from implementing the orders passed by the apex court.

Irked at this remark, Justice Shaikh reminded Talibuddin that the bench was not attempting to restrict the provincial government, but simply pointing out that it had not been presented the relevant documents.

Talibuddin informed the court that Sindh Directorate General of Antiquities and Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani issued a notice to Karachi Gymkhana, in the light of Supreme Court's (SC's) orders. The apex court had ordered the removal of illegal constructions from playgrounds, parks and other spots and restoration to their original form, he added.

Justice Shaikh then inquired if the SC had also restricted construction on gymkhana's premises. Talibuddin maintained that the orders by SC did not mention the Karachi Gymkhana, adding that the gymkhana administration currently did not possess a land lease and would be granted a lease according to the current market value of the land.

The court sought complete documentation regarding the Karachi Gymkhana from Talibuddin by July 30.

Sugar inquiry commission

The same bench referred on Tuesday the matter of forming a special bench to hear sugar mills owners' plea, challenging the report of the sugar inquiry commission, to SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M.

The petitioners have maintained in the plea that the inquiry commission was not formed in accordance with the law, as the members of the commission were previously a part of another inquiry leading to them having a predisposed bias against sugar mills owners. They have further claimed that none of them were informed of the formation of the inquiry commission and they were not given the chance to respond to the allegations of illegality posed against them.

The court subsequently forwarded the matter for the formation of a special bench to hear the plea to Justice Ahmed and adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period of time.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2020.

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