Tuesday May 17, 2022

SHC directs defence secretary to file comments in field firing range land allotment case

January 27, 2022
SHC directs defence secretary to file comments in field firing range land allotment case

The Sindh High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the defence secretary on a petition of villagers against the allotment of villages’ land to military authorities for field firing range purposes.

Petitioner Abdul Razzak and other villagers of Deh Dando and Deh Joreji have challenged the allotment of their land to military authorities for purpose of a field firing range and artillery

practice purposes.

They submitted that the military authorities were allotted 10,980 acres of land for maneuvers exercises, but the authorities had taken some residential and agricultural land of the petitioners. They said that some 14 villages were affected due to the impugned notification with regard to the allotment of land to the military authorities.

They said that the notified area of the military authorities for firing range purposes was 13,580 acres; however, more than 27,000 acres had been covered by the authorities in Deh Dando, Kotiaro and Joreji, including lands of the petitioners for residential and cultivation purposes.

They petitioners said they possessed sanads, their villages had been regularised by the provincial government and notifications for allotting land for field firing range purposes could not be issued for residential and dwelling place for humans and domestic animals.

The court was requested to direct the provincial government to protect the 12,000 acres of the petitioners’ land from the boundary pillars of the military authorities.

The military estate officer filed comments on the petition, submitting that the petition was not maintainable under articles 174 and 184 of the constitution. He submitted that land measuring 50,600 acres in Dhabeji was reserved for the use of military authorities for purposes of field firing and maneuvers exercises.

Revenue department officials submitted that the Sindh government has leased out 13,500 acres in Deh Dhandho and Deh Kotirero for nine leases free of cost in favour of the defence department for the establishment of the Dhabeji field firing range, which does not include villages, Kabuli land, 30 years’ leases and graveyards.

A division bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi observed that military estate officer and the revenue department had filed their comments. However, the petitioners submitted that the defence secretary was not impleaded as respondent in the petition and requested the court to issue a notice to the defence secretary, allowing the petitioner to implead the ministry of defence as respondent in the petition. The court directed the office to issue a notice to the defence secretary after filing of an amended title of the petition by the petitioners’ counsel.