Swapping of govt and BT lands void
A three member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has restrained NAB from taking action against Bahria Town, allowing the builder to proceed with its project in Karachi.
Announcing decision in Bahria town Karachi case Wednesday, the Chief Justice said that the apex court has taken a lenient approach keeping in view the interest of those who invested in the project. The Chief Justice, however, in his order made it incumbent upon Bahria town Karachi to deposit twenty percent of the amount it will receive from the allottees in the apex court’s account. The remaining eighty percent should be exclusively spent on development work in Bahria town Karachi project.
The court also directed the Bahria Town Chief Executive and Chairman Malik Riaz to deposit five billion rupees in the apex court’s account within fifteen days. The Supreme Court halted Baharia Town from selling or allotting land in the Bahria Town Karachi project after declaring that the allotment of land to the company by the Sindh government and by the Malir Development Authority (MDA) was illegal.
The bench hearing the case, in a 2-1 verdict, also directed the National Accountability Bureau to file references against those responsible for law violations and decide the case within three months. “Having thus considered, we are constrained to declare that the grant of the land to the MDA, its exchange with the land of Bahria Town and anything done pursuant thereto being against the provisions of COGLA 1912 [Colonization of Government Lands Act, 1912] and statement of conditions are void ab initio and as such have no existence,” the court ruled.
“The government land would go back to the government and the land of Bahria Town exchanged for the government land would go back to Bahria Town,” the court ordered.
The court also considered the interests of those people Bahria Town has already sold the land to.
“Since a great deal of work has been done by the Bahria Town and a third-party interest has been created in favour of hundreds of allotees, the land could be granted to the Bahria Town afresh by the Board of Revenue under the provisions of COGLA 1912.” “What would be the terms and conditions of grant, what would be the price of the land, whether it would be the one at which the Bahria Town sold the land to the people by and large, how much of government land and how much of the private land has been utilized by the Bahria Town, and what Bahria Town is entitled to receive in terms of money on account of development of the land are the questions to be determined by the implementation bench of this court.”
“We, therefore, request the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan to constitute a bench for the implementation of this judgement in its letter and spirit,” it asked.