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Thursday July 18, 2024

SHC wants policy on conditions for grant of land to cooperative societies

By Jamal Khurshid
May 25, 2024
This image shows the building of the Sindh High Court in Karachi. — Facebook/Sindh High Court Bar Association Karachi/File
This image shows the building of the Sindh High Court in Karachi. — Facebook/Sindh High Court Bar Association Karachi/File

The Sindh High Court has directed the senior member of the Board of Revenue in consultation with the secretary and registrar of cooperative societies to meticulously formulate a policy governing the conditions for land grants to housing societies.

The direction came during the hearing of a petition pertaining to the conversion of land use from a cooperative farming society to industrial utilization. The court had earlier directed the member of the board of revenue and the deputy commissioner of Korangi to submit the mother entry and subsequent entries of the land in question.

A division bench headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar observed that it was revealed that the land, originally allotted to a cooperative farming society had been duly entered in the record of rights, however, it was subsequently transferred by virtue of a gift deed.

The court observed that it is legally inept for land granted to a cooperative farming society, educational institution, or any other welfare organization to be gifted or transferred to an individual.

The court observed that it is essential to underscore that land allotments to any cooperative society must be entered in the record of rights exclusively for the society and cannot be transferred to any individual office-bearer’s personal name.

The senior member of the board of revenue asserted his intention to investigate the matter and solicit reports from all deputy commissioners, and issue directives ensuring that the complete record of rights and mutation entries concerning the society are verified and corrected if not properly recorded in the society’s name.

He also affirmed his commitment to meticulously review the court order wherein the primary intent and purpose of the legislation was meticulously examined, and undertakes to establish guidelines governing the conditions for land grants to housing societies.

The court observed that the Sindh cooperative societies Act, 2020 was enacted with the primary intention of fostering a culture of thrift, self-help, and mutual aid among agriculturists, small farmers, labourers, and individuals with modest means who share similar economic needs.

It said that the overarching goal of the legislation is to improve the quality of life, enhance business practices, and introduce superior methods of production for these groups and the same was achieved by facilitating the formation and operation of cooperative societies, which are designed to serve as a means for collective economic empowerment and social advancement.

It directed the senior member of the board of revenue (BoR), in close consultation with secretary and the registrar of cooperative societies, to meticulously formulate the necessary policy in accordance with guiding principles.

The court directed the senior member of the BoR to scrutinize the disputed land allotment, as documented in the record of rights, along with the subsequent cancellation and the alleged fresh allotment by chief minister as asserted by the intervener.

The court further observed that the claims made by officials from the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) regarding the land’s designation for parks shall be thoroughly examined and this investigative process will be diligently conducted within a two- month timeframe, ensuring that all relevant parties are granted an opportunity to be heard, and that the pertinent records are exhaustively reviewed. The court directed the member BoR and others to file a comprehensive compliance report by August 8.