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December 7, 2017

Basic amenities more important than construction business: SC


December 7, 2017

The Karachi registry of the country’s top court has once again turned down the builders’ plea to lift the ban on construction of multi-storeyed buildings in the city, stressing that the right to life is more important than the construction business.

The Supreme Court was hearing petitions seeking review of court orders and the judicial commission’s recommendations about construction of high-rises until new sources of water were added to the existing supply system.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar questioned the builders’ vested interests and observed that a ban had to be imposed on the construction of new high-rises in view of water scarcity.

The SC took an exception to the insistence of the builders’ association whose members requested the court to lift the Sindh Building Control Authority’s ban on the construction of multi-storeyed buildings in the city due to water shortage.

The petitioners argued that the ban on constructing high-rises was causing them financial losses, but the bench told them that the city was faced with a water crisis and so the court would protect the rights of the citizens as a whole rather than those of individuals.

The court observed that the people’s right to life was more important than the construction business and asked the builders how they would provide water to the residents of multi-storeyed buildings in the face of water shortage.

The bench said the builders’ counsel had been informed that no petition would be entertained or reviewed until the water shortage issue was resolved, following which the counsel and the petitioners apologised to the court and requested that their review petitions be adjourned.

Private builders and developers had filed an application to have the SC review its March 16 order and the judicial commission’s observations that called for a complete ban on the construction of high-rises in the city until water shortage was overcome and new resources of water were added.

The petitioners’ counsels had said the court’s order and the judicial body’s recommendations were affecting the petitioners’ businesses, while the people who had paid for bookings were facing difficulties in acquiring possession of the living spaces.

They had said that according to Section 25-14.7 (“Conditions to be fulfilled”), read with Section 3-2.15.3 of the Karachi Building & Town Planning Regulations, builders and developers were required to make arrangements for water, electricity and sewage facilities before the building plan’s approval.

The counsels had maintained that the allottees and residents would be provided with the facilities through alternate sources, and requested that the multi-storey projects that had their own resources of water supply and sanitation maintenance be allowed to be completed.

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