SC directs Punjab chief secy to look into regularisation of encroachments upon school plot

14 Mar 2019


"Regularising trust land is illegal," says Supreme Court judge. — AFP/File
"Regularising trust land is illegal," says Supreme Court judge. — AFP/File

The Supreme Court on Thursday heard a case pertaining to regularisation of encroachments upon a girls' school in Gujranwala, and directed Punjab's Chief Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokher to "solve the problem by tomorrow".

At the onset of the hearing, the three-member bench asked why encroachments upon a property that had been donated to the education department were regularised. He inquired how a kachi abadi was able to develop on a trust land.

"Regularising trust land is illegal," remarked Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who was part of the bench that heard the case.

During the hearing, Additional Advocate General Faisal Chaudhry told the court that the government was ready to grant alternate land to the provincial education department. Justice Ahmed asked the reason behind granting a plot that was 13 kilometres away from the original location of the school.

"Why is the government giving us a lolly pop?" the judge asked. "Why don't you shift the katchi abadi? How will kids go 13 kilometres away?"

He demanded to know what action the authorities had taken against officials who were involved in illegal activities. Justice Ahmed warned the chief secretary to "solve the problem or face the consequences".

"Why is he [chief secretary] on this post if he cannot even solve a minor issue?" the judge said.

The hearing of the case was adjourned until tomorrow.

'Education sector is being ruined'

In a separate case pertaining to degrees issued by Al Khair University, Justice Ahmed remarked that the education sector was being ruined.

"[The number of] universities is growing like mushrooms," Justice Ahmed, who was part of the bench hearing the case, said. "Why doesn't the government look into these matters?"

Yesterday, a petition had been filed in the top court saying that the appellant was unable to find a job as companies did not accept his degree that had been obtained by Al Khair University in Sindh.

Justice Ahmed directed the attorney general and Higher Education Commission to submit a response on the matter within 15 days and added that "Al Khair was doing the same thing as Axact".

He said that degrees were being "sold" and "a generation has been ruined".

"One generation has been ruined and the next one is in line," he regretted. The judge said that the matter could not be solved by being brought before the courts.

"What can NAB (National Accountability Bureau) and FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) do [about this]?"

The hearing was adjourned until 15 days.