Monday May 29, 2023

SHC tells outlet owners to approach appropriate forum for redressal of grievances

March 25, 2023

The Sindh High Court on Friday dismissed an application filed by the Burns Road food outlet traders’ association against hindrances placed by the local authorities to carrying out their businesses and directed them to approach an appropriate forum to get their grievances redressed.

The association had moved the court for permission to become an intervenor in the case pertaining to the closure of Burns Road for a food street in the evening hours. It said the high court had set aside a notification of the closure of Burnes Road in the evening hours without hearing the applicants.

It submitted that the petitioners had obtained the high court order through misrepresentation, and in the garb of the order the official respondents were creating hurdles in the outlet owners’ way to carry out their businesses.

A high court division bench, headed by Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, inquired the association’s counsel what the misrepresentation made by the petitioners was while obtaining the court order, as the order had been issued after perusal of the impugned notification with regard to the closure of the road for vehicular traffic during the evening hours.

The applicant’s counsel could not refer to any such misrepresentation or fraud by the petitioners, but submitted that the number of employees of the applicants and other food outlet owners conducting business on Burnes Road had been affected as the official respondents were creating hurdles for carrying out their businesses.

The court observed that the application was totally misconceived and liable to be dismissed. The applicant submitted that he wanted to withdraw the application and would file appropriate proceedings for seeking redressal of their grievances against misuse of authority by the local administration who were creating hurdles in their lawful businesses.

The court observed that the applicant is at liberty to file appropriate proceedings before the relevant forum for the redressal of grievances if any in accordance with the law. The court however clarified that any action taken by the official authorities pursuant to the court orders would not be the subject matter of such proceedings.

The provincial law officer filed a compliance report submitting that all encroachments/hurdles had been removed from Burnes Road and its six connected roads and these roads had been restored to their original position and were being used for all types of transport as per the law.

He denied that the court order was being misused by the local authorities. The court had also taken on record the South deputy commissioner and the DIG Traffic’s notifications under which they withdrew their previous notifications with regard to the closure of Burnes Road for traffic from 7pm to midnight.

It had ordered the Karachi administration to stop the closure of Burnes Road for traffic in the evening hours for the purpose of a food street, observing that the citizens’ fundamental rights could not be curtailed for the purpose of a food street.

The court had also ordered the removal of encroachments from the footpaths and surrounding streets of the road. The petitioner’ counsel had submitted in the plea that an elderly woman had died due to the evening traffic restrictions on Burnes Road after she could not be provided emergency medical relief. According to the petition, the residents of the Burnes Road area had been facing extreme difficulties due to the decision of the district administration to block the road between 7pm and 2am for the purpose of the food street.