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February 27, 2020

Services secy ordered to get vacated govt residences occupied by unauthorised persons


February 27, 2020

The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed secretary services to take possession of all government accommodations retained by retired government employees and their families, in violation of the Supreme Court directives, within two months.

The court directed the additional secretary services, general administration and coordination department to submit a complete list of all such quarters, flats, bungalows and government accommodation that were in an unauthorised occupation or possession.

Secretary services Mohammad Iqbal Memon submitted a compliance report, mentioning that as many as 14 bungalows, flats and other residences were in possession of such persons who were not entitled to retain the possession thereof.

The SHC’s division bench, headed by Justice Nadeem Akhtar, observed it appeared that the Sindh government had not complied with the orders of the Supreme Court which directed the Sindh government to get the premises from unauthorised persons vacated.

The court observed that a list of the government accommodations submitted before the court was not complete as the secretary services conceded that a number of other premises were in possession of families and retired government officials who had been allowed to retain possession thereof on humanitarian grounds.

The court directed the secretary services to ensure that the possession of all such properties be also taken over within two months according to the SC orders and submit a list of all such properties before the court on the next date of hearing along with a progress report mentioning steps being taken in respect of each property for removal of the possession.

The court clarified that its order shall not apply to any such property in respect of which any stay order was in field, however, a copy of such order shall be placed before the court along with the compliance report to be filed on the next date by the secretary services. The court observed that any stay order obtained from subordinate court or high court after the passing of the court shall not affect the order.

The secretary services also undertook that possessions of all 14 properties shall be taken over from the present occupants without failure within 30 days and a compliance report shall be submitted on the next date of hearing.

The court was informed that the government accommodation had been handed over to government officer Zamir Ahmed Abbasi who had moved the court against non-vacation of the government accommodation.

The petitioner said he was allotted a government accommodation on May 14, 2018 but it was not vacated by government officer Lt Cdr (retired) Kashif Ahmed Abbasi of the Frontier Constabulary despite his transfer to KP and his family was still in possession of the accommodation.

The court had observed that as respondent Lt Cdr (retd) Kashif Ahmed Abbasi had failed to pay rent of the flat with effect from November 2018 which was Rs187,995.

The court directed the IG of Frontier Constabulary Peshawar and the KP accountant general to ensure that the said amount was transferred from the salary of respondent to the account of the services, the general administration and the coordination department and a compliance report was submitted on March 30.

Contempt plea

The SHC has directed the DIG East, the SHO Sachal and others to file comments on a contempt application filed by a construction company against the police for violating the court orders.

The applicant Mason Construction Company submitted in the application that the SHC on September 9, 2016 had ordered status quo on a suit property admeasuring 18.2 acres situated at Sector 27-A of Scheme 33 in Gulzar-e-Hijri.

He submitted that the DIG East, the DSP Gulzar-e-Hijir and the SHO Sachal misused their authority on the direction of a “private contemnor Mirza Asif Baig” who tried to enter into the suit property and damaged its main entrance, worth around Rs30 million, in violation of the court orders and now they were restricting access of the applicant.

The applicant accused that the alleged contemnors had wilfully violated the court orders of status quo on the suit property and requested the court to “punish the contemnors for violating the court orders”.

SP Investigation Irfan on behalf of the DIG East, DSP Sachal Moinuddin and SHO Sachal Shafiq Afridi appeared before the court. During the proceedings, their counsel requested the court to grant them time for preparation. The police officers also sought time to file their respective replies on the contempt application.

The judge directed that the replies should be filed and exchanged among the counsel for the parties before the next date and adjourned the hearing for three weeks.