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April 7, 2021

LHC seeks explanation from RUDA on alleged violations of stay orders

Lahore

April 7, 2021

LAHORE:The Lahore High Court on Tuesday expressed displeasure on the alleged violations of stay orders regarding Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project and sought an explanation from the Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA).

Justice Shahid Karim was hearing a petition filed on behalf of the landowners and affectees in the area of the riverfront development project. The petitioners challenged the mode and manner of the land acquisition proceedings undertaken by RUDA for the project. They claimed that the hearing for the objections on the land acquisition was to be held on March 2, 2021, however, due to a law and order situation created on that day, no hearing could be held. However, despite these circumstances, they said, the land acquisition collector of the RUDA passed 18 awards on the same day amounting to multiple billion rupees.

The petitioners also challenged the legality of forceful acquisitions of land for commercial purposes under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. They said the RUDA was forcefully acquiring the land for a purported “public purpose” for commercial developers to establish housing estates and high-rises to be eventually sold on commercial considerations for profit.

After hearing the contention, Justice Karim expressed displeasure over the alleged violation of the stay orders and summoned the land acquisition collector of the RUDA to explain his position.

The judge also sought a reply from the Punjab government to the petition and directed the RUDA to refrain from taking any further steps in the acquisition process. The judge would resume hearing on Wednesday (today) and would also take up a contempt of court petition against RUDA Director Land Acquisition retired Col Abdul Basit, and Land acquisition Collector-IV M Zafar Iqbal.

Advocate Sheraz Zaka filed the petition accusing the respondents of violating the stay orders passed by the court against resumption of construction work and acquisition of land for the riverfront project.