A shipping company on Tuesday got a step closer to receiving compensation for the 19 containers that police had taken away illegally from its warehouse and placed them near the Bilawal House for security purposes more than 17 months back.
The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the home department to return the Aaras shipping agency’s containers kept near the Bilawal House, the presidential camp office in Karachi, for security reasons and pay compensation to the owner.
The order came on a petition filed by the firm that sought the recovery of its containers from the Mauripur police and compensation for the authorities concerned.
The petitioner submitted that the police took away the 19 containers from its warehouse without its permission on January 3, 2011 and did not return them despite several reminders to the authorities concerned.
The counsel for the firm’s owner said his client was incurring financial losses due to the unlawful seizure of the metal boxes by the police.
The counsel said the containers were meant for the specific purpose of being stuffed with goods for transportation abroad through sea, and his client needed them for running his business smoothly.
Due to the illegal seizure of the containers, he said, the firm was suffering a loss of $8 a day against each container.
The petitioner pleaded with the court to direct the respondent to pay compensation for his property at the rate of $8 a day per container from the date of their seizure.
Mauripur police denied the allegations and submitted that the containers had not been obtained forcibly.
The Mauripur SHO told the court that the containers had been given to the Boat Basin police for VVIP security arrangements at the Bilawal House. He submitted that 10 out of the 19 containers had been returned to the petitioner.
A division bench, headed by Chief Justice Mushir Alam, observed that no person could be deprived of his property without due process of law and/or without due compensation in terms of Article 24 (3) of the Constitution.
Chief Justice Alam directed the police and the home department to restore the containers to the petitioner within seven days in a proper condition.
He also directed the home secretary to determine the compensation amount and place on record a report on the payment of the amount through a cross cheque.