KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday directed the additional deputy commissioners of five of the six Karachi districts to personally appear in court along with their respective replies regarding action taken against usage of sewage for vegetable farming.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Yousuf Ali Sayeed also directed the counsel for the Sindh Food Authority (SFA) to submit a reply in this regard till March 13.

The directives came on a petition filed by a public interest litigant, who impleaded the provincial and local authorities as respondents for their alleged inaction against the usage of the hazardous industrial and sewerage water for farming by a private company.

The petitioner submitted that water of industrial units and sewage, which was toxic and hazardous to human health, was being used for the purpose of agriculture in the Malir, Korangi, East, West and Central districts of the metropolis without any check by relevant authorities.

The petitioner submitted that the respondents, including the chief secretary, SFA and deputy commissioners concerned had allegedly turned a blind eye towards the practice due to which the health of the people consuming such vegetables was at risk.

Court summons additional DCs of five Karachi districts to explain their position

The court was asked to issue directives to the respondents to take remedial measures to stop the practice and also act against the private farming firm.

During the proceedings, Advocate M.S. Bukhari filed power of attorney on behalf of the SFA.

Additional Advocate General Jawad Dero also requested for time to submit a reply in this regard.

The bench directed the office to issue notices to the additional deputy commissioners of the Korangi, Malir, East, West and Central districts to appear in person on the next date to show what action they had taken so far in this regard.

Mohammad Anwar Kumbar, the mukhtiariar of district Korangi, appeared before the court and requested for time to submit his reply in this regard.

Allowing the request, the bench also directed him to submit a progress report in respect of his district as to whether sewage was being used for the purpose of vegetable farming and what action had been taken so far in this regard.

The bench also directed the counsel for the SFA to submit a reply and adjourned the hearing till March 13.

Plea to enforce hoarding & black marketing law

The same bench granted three weeks time to the assistant director (legal), bureau of supply and prices, to submit a reply to a petition seeking enforcement of the Hoarding and Black Marketing Act, 1948 to regulate and enforce the prices of essential commodities in the province.

The bench granted time on the request of Mohammad Saleem, the assistant director, and fixed the matter for March 18.

Advocate Mohammad Tariq Mansoor had filed a petition against the federal and provincial authorities for allegedly not enforcing the law meant to control hoarding and black marketing of essential commodities and for not appointing special judges to conduct summary trials of the violators of the law.

The petitioner argued that the people were suffering as relevant authorities had failed to enforce the law and take remedial measures in pursuance of the provisions of the law due to which the prices of daily use items, including eatables, were skyrocketing.

The court was asked to direct the respondents to enforce the law and appoint special judges under Section 14 of the act in the province.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2020