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Tuesday April 23, 2024

SHC orders removal of encroachments from Al-Asif Square to Toll Plaza

By Jamal Khurshid
December 03, 2023

The Sindh High Court has taken exception to the failure of the authorities to remove encroachments from footpaths and green belts in Sohrab Goth and directed the deputy commissioner of District East, the anti-encroachment cell and other civic authorities to restore the entire public property, including service roads, green belts and footpaths, to its original position as per the master plan from the Sohrab Goth area to Toll Plaza within one month.

The direction came on a petition against illegal parking lots and encroachments on public space, green belts in Sohrab Goth and other areas of District East.

A view of the Sindh High Court building. —Radio Pakistan/File
 A view of the Sindh High Court building. —Radio Pakistan/File

A division bench headed by Justice Nadeem Akhtar observed that the DC East, the anti-encroachment cell and other civic agencies were directed to remove encroachments from public land, footpaths and green belts and restoration to their original position, but the order of the court was not complied with.

The DC submitted that whenever subject areas were cleared, encroachments resurfaced immediately because inaction on the part of the relevant authorities who were required to develop and beautify the said area.

The DC undertook that encroachments within vicinity from Al-Asif Square will be removed within a week, while the remaining area of public property from Al-Asif Square to Toll Plaza M-9 will be cleared within one month.

The court directed the DG Rangers and the SSP East to provide proper protection and support to the team of the DC East for implementation of its orders. The provincial law officer on behalf of the Rangers and the SSP East assured the court that proper protection and support to be provided to the deputy commissioner for compliance with the court orders.

The counsel for private companies, National Highway Authority and WHO undertook that the subject land will be developed for beautification as per the scheme after the removal of encroachments. It directed the DC and others to submit the compliance report by removing encroachments from green belts, footpaths and others amenity land from Sohrab Goth to Toll Plaza by January 11.

The SHC had earlier observed that it is well settled that public property meant for the use, enjoyment and benefit of the public and cannot be used by any person or the authority. It observed that government and municipal authorities and all their functionaries are duty bound to keep the public property free from all types of encroachments and claims.

The court observed that encroaching public property is crime under the Sindh public property (removal of encroachment) Act 2010 and the encroacher of a public property is liable to the punishment provided for in section 8 of the Act.

The court observed that any crime against the public property is crime against the public; besides, the Supreme Court had also ordered protection of public properties from misuse and encroachments in its various judgments.