KARACHI: The Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and the Clifton Cantonment Board (CBC) will have to explain to the high court whether or not the refurbishment charges they take from their residents are even legal.
The Sindh High Court issued intimation notices to the federal government, DHA and CBC after a resident filed a petition against the imposition of refurbishment charges on the residents of the city’s upscale neighbourhood.
Resident Muhammad Ali Raza Khan stated in his petition that his plot no. 5-B/2 in South Circle, Phase II, which was spread over 500 square yards, was built between 1987 and 1988 as a one-unit bungalow. To prevent damages to the old building, he tried to get some maintenance work done but DHA instructed him to pay the refurbishment charges before he even seeks permission for the maintenance, he added.
According to Khan, the authority’s role is to only allot land to the personnel of armed forces and it does not have the mandate to charge the residents or property owners, within its territorial jurisdiction, for renovation or maintenance.
Khan said he purchased the land from its previous owner through a ‘B’ lease after paying all the applicable charges and is not required to pay refurbishment charges. “This is highhandedness and an illegal and unjustified demand,” argued Khan, adding it was the duty of the housing authority to get such maintenance work done for its members.
In his plea, the petitioner pleaded to the court to bar the DHA from demanding unjust and unlawful refurbishment charges. As the two-judge bench took up the matter on Monday, no one from the federal government, the DHA and CBC had filed their comments.
Justice Ghulam Sarwar Korai, who headed the bench, ordered the office to issue intimation notices to the respondents for July 17.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.