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National

July 11, 2018

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No constructions in Banigala, Golra to be demolished, rules IHC

ISLAMABAD: A three-members larger bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) hearing petitions against illegal constructions in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) causing environmental hazards has held that ‘construction of houses or buildings of any nature, whether in the Golra Revenue Estate or the area comprising Banigala, which have been or are intended to be constructed in violation of the Master Plan, Zoning Regulations and the Wildlife Ordinance of 1979, as the case may be, are illegal, without lawful authority and jurisdiction and thus liable to be demolished as mandated under the CDA Ordinance’.

The three-members larger bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the IHC while disposing of several petitions against the unregulated urbanisation of these areas and heavy damage caused to the environment also stated, “None of the respondents have been able to place on record any document which would establish the legality of their buildings.”

The IHC judgment says that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is the sole and exclusive regulator and the Union Councils were not vested with authority to grant any approval contrary to or in violation of CDA Ordinance of 1960 and the regulations made thereunder.

The IHC bench declared that in case of any violation, Chairman CDA and board members shall be jointly and severally liable for breach of duties and obligations. The bench said that the Chief Commissioner ICT shall be equally responsible if the legal framework in the un-acquired areas is violated. “We also declare that the Authority is the exclusive and sole regulator and the provisions of the Ordinance of 1960 and the regulations made there under are attracted in the case of a private housing authority established in any part of the Islamabad Capital Territory,” the IHC bench also said.

The IHC bench has directed that keeping in view the imminent danger and risk, particularly in the context of environmental degradation and climatic change, it has become inevitable to review the existing Master Plan and assess its efficacy. IHC bench directed federal government to forthwith take steps of constituting a Commission comprising professional experts, preferably of international repute, in the field of town planning, environmental management and finance. The Commission shall make recommendations to the federal government and its terms of reference (TORs) shall also be formulated by experts.

The IHC bench said that the federal government is expected to complete the proceedings forthwith. The bench directed the Chief Commissioner to aid and assist CDA in ensuring that no building or house is constructed in any area of Islamabad in violation of the law.

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