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October 5, 2017

Interveners allowed to become party to NHA, land utilisation dept litigation


October 5, 2017

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday allowed private interveners to become party to the litigation between the National Highway Authority and land utilisation department over cancellation of allocation of 7,641.19 acres of land meant for the M-9 project.

The land, earlier allocated to NHA, comprises 1347.19 acres handed over in Karachi’s district Malir, 1,340 acres in Thatta and 4,954 in Jamshoro. The direction came on application of land owners and allottees who wished to be heard in the court before the matter was decided upon.

The secretary land utilisation department had cancelled the entries made to record the allocation of 7641.19 acres to NHA through its notification issued on June 21, 2017 after the NHA did not make any payments.

The land in question was allowed to be mutated as right of way in favour of the M-9 project by the provincial government on February 11, 2012. The court had, however, granted a stay on the impugned notification.

The applicants maintained that they will be adversely affected by the order of the court as they have vested rights on different pieces of land. They observed that several petitions over the matter were pending before the SHC in which stay orders have been issued in favour of the land owners.

NHA’s counsel, however, opposed the application on grounds that the intervenors have already filed petitions in SHC. SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan granted the intervenors’ plea observing that the petitioner had already referred to interests of intervenors in the M-9 project and that the absence of intervenors in the litigation may affect their right of interests.

Gutka and Mainpuri

The high court directed Sindh Inspector General of Police and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation to submit reports over measures taken against people involved in manufacturing and selling of Gutka and Mainpuri in the city.

The court was hearing a petition of Rashid Khan seeking a ban on the manufacturing and selling of Gutka (a stimulant made from crushed areca nut, catechu, paraffin wax and staked lime) and Mainpuri (a mix of tobacco and crushed areca nut). 

The petitioner maintained that consumption of the substandard stimulants has put health of a large number of citizens in grave danger despite a ban having been imposed by the provincial government on their manufacturing and selling.

He said the health department also mentioned in its comments that the consumption of the stimulants could cause mouth cancer, but the hazardous products are till being manufactured and sold owing to the food department’s negligence as well as police patronage. 

The court ordered the IG Sindh and other concerned authorities to ensure effective enforcement of restrictions imposed on the preparation, manufacturing and selling of the stimulants throughout the province. Expressing dissatisfaction on police reports regarding action taken against manufacturers and sellers, the court directed the IG Sindh and KMC to ensure proper measures are taken against Gutka and Mainpuri sellers and manufacturers.

The court also directed KMC to remove cabins of people found involved in selling the hazardous products.

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