Friday July 12, 2024

SCBA justifies land acquisition for housing scheme

By Osman Khan
October 17, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on October 16, 2017 has issued a press statement in reaction of a story “Judges in their own case” published in The News and Daily Jang dated 14-10-2017. 

It says, “The members of SCBA were shocked and dismayed to see a news item. It is against the established norms of journalism that the said newspaper without hearing or consulting with SCBA maliciously declared the proceedings before the Supreme Court to be a ‘controversial case’ and unique. It is not the first case regarding the city of Islamabad. More than 20 to 30 housing societies were established and lands were acquired for them through Land Acquisition Act 1894.

"The aforesaid news item has created an impression that the senior members of lawyers’ community have no locus standi or right to acquire land while on the other side, the journalists and other professionals of Pakistan have several housing societies throughout Pakistan for which lands were acquired under the garb of public purpose. The said news item has deliberately and with the intention to mislead the public at large has concealed to mention that so far SCBA has deposited a huge amount of more than Rs5 billion since last one year with the land acquisition officer and despite this the land is under the process of acquisition. It is not an exgratia allotment on the part of federal government. 

Similarly, the statement further says that it is highly malicious and libelous to name former presidents of SCBA as well as current and former attorney generals for obtaining plots in the housing scheme of SCBA.

They are all members of the association and have every right to obtain a plot in the housing scheme. It is considered view of this association that the names of the senior lawyers have been mentioned to defame them and to create an impression that along with the judges of the superior judiciary, they want to garb lands under the pretext of land acquisition.

It is painful to note that the editors and reporters of this news item have deliberately ignored the fact that even in government housing schemes they have quota for retired government servants and therefore, there was no wrong in allotting plots to the judges of the superior court who have remained members of the SCBA. 

“That the entire aforesaid report shows that the real facts of the case have been deliberately concealed and has been published in order to convey an impression that the judges and senior lawyers are flouting the well-established principle of administration of justice for their personal gain which is absolutely incorrect, malafide as well as malicious. The acquisition of land for the lawyers community falls within the scope of public purpose and till date all steps taken by the SCBA, Supreme Court, Housing Foundation and the Land Acquisition Commissioner are strictly in accordance with the law of the land particularly Land Acquisition Act 1894”, says the statement.

The SCBA in its statement further says that for the last few months a deliberate attempt is being made in some of the print and electronic media to malign and defame the members of the superior judiciary as well as the lawyers’ community and the instant news item is a step in furtherance of the same. We therefore call upon the editor, printer and reporter to immediately publish a retraction in their newspapers and tender an unqualified/unconditional apology, otherwise, the lawyers’ community will be free to adopt any legal course to vindicate their position, says the statement. 

Fakhar Durrani adds: The SCBA in its press statement has not challenged even a single fact or content of the story “Judges in their own case” but has questioned the intent of the story. This reporter stands by his story.