close
Sunday April 21, 2024

SHC takes exception to govt failure to frame rules for land conversion for commercial use

By Jamal Khurshid
February 24, 2024
The Sindh High Court building in Karachi. — SHC website
The Sindh High Court building in Karachi. — SHC website 

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday took exception to the non-framing of rules pertaining to planning, construction, control, demolition and disposal of buildings and town planning regulations with regard to change of residential land use for commercial purposes, and directed the secretary of the local government, housing and town planning department to file comments.

Petitioner Tariq Mansoor advocate submitted that rules with regard to building planning, construction, demolition and disposal had not been framed in the Sindh Building Control Ordinance despite a lapse of 42 years.

He submitted that the Karachi buildings and town planning regulations 2002 had also unlawfully incorporated the change of land use and commercialisation mechanism, allowing the conversion and commercialisation of land without proper town planning and upgradation of civic amenities and infrastructure, which was severally affecting public amenities and residential neighbourhoods.

The petitioner said the Sindh Building Control Ordinance did not intend or authorise the change of land use and conversion of residential land as per the original master plan of the Karachi Development Authority, but contrary to it, the framers of Karachi Building Town Planning Regulations had prima facie acted in excess of their jurisdiction and themselves included the change of land use and commercialisation chapter, which was inconsistent with the ordinance.

He submitted that the Supreme Court had also imposed a ban on unlawful commercialisation and change of land use. The high court was requested to direct the government to frame the building, planning, construction, control, demolition and disposal rules and declare the town planning regulations with regard to the change of land use and commercialisation to be unlawful and in contravention of the parent act.

The petitioner also requested the SHC to direct the civic bodies to enforce the Supreme Court’s directives against unlawful constructions and change of land use for commercial purposes in all the residential neighbourhoods of the city. He asked the high court to direct the government to bring the provisions of the Sindh Building Control Ordinance and town planning regulations in accordance with the teachings of Islam to the extent of enforcement of rights of neighbourhood in the religion.

A division bench, headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar, directed the secretary of local government, housing and town planning department to file comments on the petition by March 11.