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March 14, 2020

State land can’t be leased without bidding: Supreme Court

Top Story

March 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday pledged to protect state land and ruled that after expiry of duration of lease, extension cannot take place itself.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial while heading a three-member bench of the apex court hearing a case of state land given on lease upheld the verdict of Lahore High Court (LHC) and ruled that state land cannot be given to anyone without conducting proper bidding.

During the course of hearing, Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that time has come now to protect the state lands. The court after rejecting an appeal filed against the LHC judgment raised questions over giving the state land on lease for 12 years and wondered as to how state land could be given on lease for 12 years.

The court further questioned as to how an extension could take place itself after the expiry of duration of a lease. As per case, state land was taken on lease in Vihari, Punjab on which a petrol pump was constructed. The lease of the said land was terminated on expiry of its duration of 12 years.

The termination of the lease was challenged before Lahore High Court and the court after directing the allottee to vacate the said land held that state land cannot be awarded to anyone without proper bidding.

During the hearing, counsel for the petitioner pleaded for annulling the LHC verdict. The counsel contended that his client was awarded the land on lease for a period of 12 years, which was liable to be extended for 30 years.

He said that the high court had stayed the termination of the lease in 2011 but in another connected case, the court ordered vacation of the land. Justice Faisal Arab questioned as to how a state land could be given on lease for 30 years. “Nobody could claim the land after getting some illegal favour from a government official,” Justice Faisal Arab remarked.

Justice Faisal Arab while addressing the counsel said if his client got an illegal favour from a government official than it does not mean that his client got right of claim on that land. Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin, another member of the bench, observed if someone wants to construct a petrol pump, he should acquire his own land and build the petrol pump over it.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial while supporting the verdict of high court observed that the court had rightly held that state land cannot be awarded without bidding. “Time has come now to protect the state lands”, Justice Bandail remarked. Meanwhile, the court upheld the verdict of the high court and dismissed the appeal.