LAHORE: Lahore High Court has ordered revenue authorities to take back 800 kanals of state land in Bahawalpur from Hamza Sugar Mills and recover the amount of penalty for using the land for several years.
Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi issued the order while dismissing a petition by the HSM requesting the court to declare the possession legal.
The petitioner had tried to justify the possession saying that the state land, measuring 800 kanals in Mohal Chak 1/P, Khanpur tehsil, Rahim Yar Khan district, adjacent to Hamza Sugar Mills was barren and uncultivable. He said he had invested a large amount to develop the land. The petitioner had also challenged the trial court’s assessment of market value and imposition of 10 per cent surcharge to be recovered from the mills.
Law officials said the matter had been taken to a court which had referred the matter to a senior member of the Board of Revenue with the consent of both parties. The senior member had furnished a report assessing the market value of the land, but after going through the report, the petitioner had backed off from its earlier commitment and objected to the assessment.
The court had then declared that an agreement could not be concluded and the plaintiff remained in illegal and unauthorised occupation of the land. The court also observed that the petitioner wanted to continue his possession of the land and did not intend to pay the penalty or compensation for unauthorised occupation of state land. The court dismissed the petition and allowed revenue authorities to take back the encroached land and obtain the penalty, the amount of which has been assessed by the revenue authorities, from the plaintiff, as arrears of land revenue.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2015.