CDA Misused Land Acquisition Powers: IHC



Islamabad High Court (IHC) has said that Capital Development Authority (CDA) had misused its compulsory land acquisition powers.

Extending ban on allotment of plots, except through auction, the court remarked that CDA took land from original owners and distributed it among people from privileged class.

The court said that CDA and Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) did not start any scheme for low income group.

Chief Justice IHC Ather Minallah issued the written order conducted hearing on petitions filed by allotees and affectees of Capital Development Authority (CDA) sectors, including E-12, I-17, H-16, G-12, F-12, Kurri Model Village C-14 and C-15.

The court maintained ban on allotment of plots in Islamabad by CDA and FGEHF and extended it until January next year. It was stated in the verdict that CDA and FGEHF could only allot a plot through auction and could file an application if the allotment of a land was essential.

The court termed compulsory acquisition disruptive in nature as the people deprived from ownership of their lands were exposed to enormous economic and social costs and added that the power of compulsory acquisition of land could not be used for violating property rights. The court stated, “Every affectee has to be generously and timely compensated.”

The court directed that procedures adopted for compulsory acquisition of land should be inevitably efficient, fair and legitimate.

The court said that the petitioners maintained that both authorities did not use power in the manner suggested by the court. They added that they were deprived from their private properties and were not compensated properly to be enabled to bear the cost of being displaced and loss of established homes and businesses. The affectees maintained that in many cases, CDA used power of compulsory acquisition to enrich members of selected privileged classes including those who had charges of corruption, committed serious professional misconduct including violation of the constitution while many lands were distributed amongst members of a few privileged classes by way of state largesse.

Minallah said that CDA had abused the power of compulsory acquisition to benefit a few and the fundamental rights of victims were violated.

The court stated that a number of affectees who were displaced had passed away while those alive were definitely suffering.

The court barred CDA and FGEHF from allotting the plots until longstanding compensation claims were settled.

The court directed FGEHF to submit a report regarding current status of compensation claims against it and expressed that it was ironic that CDA or FGEHF prepared no scheme for low income groups or other less privileged classes while the government largesse had been distributed only amongst few members of privileged class.

The verdict stated that the commission member MNA Asad Umar had suggested that CDA and FGEHF should be given a reasonable time to implement recommendations of the commission which was approved. The secretary of interior ministry and the chairman CDA have been directed to complete the process of compensating genuine affectees within ninety days.

The court also instructed that all claims should be dealt with in a transparent, fair and efficient manner while the federal government and CDA should submit a weekly progress report to the commission.

The court also directed the commission members to ensure that the approved recommendations from the committee were implemented in a satisfactory manner.

The court also appreciated the endeavors made by commission members including Asad Umar, Raja Khurram Nawaz and Special Assistance to the Prime Minister Ali Nawaz Awan of CDA affairs along with the chairman CDA and secretary of interior ministry in the case.

The court adjourned the case until January 15 next year.

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