KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Tuesday restrained Bahria Town Karachi from raising constructions in violation of the approved plan and building regulations.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Shafi Siddiqui issued notices to the provincial authorities, Bahria Town and other respondents as well as the advocate general with direction to file comments after four weeks.
However, the bench also questioned the petitioner, a regular litigant, for filing hundreds of cases under the garb of public interest litigation and asked the Sindh Bar Council (SBC) and Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) for assistance in this regard.
SHC questions locus standi of petitioner, calls bar associations for assistance
Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi filed two petitions against alleged illegal constructions in Bahria Town Karachi stating that such constructions were going on without any approval of the building plan and regulations as none of the authorities had accorded any approval.
The petitioner submitted that this matter came within the public interest litigation and hence he had a locus standi to file these petitions.
In the second petition, he submitted that he was also a resident of Bahria Town and challenged the construction being raised on its premises.
The bench said that the petitioner had not placed any title or approval of the premises where he himself was residing as he had to show equity to have equity.
The petitioner said that he would file the copy of the approval plan of the house/villa he had shown in the title of the petition before the next hearing.
The bench observed that the petitioner was filing such cases as pro bono under the garb of public interest, adding that no doubt such cases were being dealt with in view of the judgements of Supreme Court as public interest litigation. But, the petitioner was quite frequently filing these kinds of petitions under the garb of public interest as being a professional advocate, it added.
“Though we issue notices to the respondents as well as AG Sindh, however we also would like to hear petitioner as to whether he, by filing hundreds of cases could well be considered as pro bono and could permit petitioner to act like a professional advocate,” the bench in its order said.
The court also directed its office to provide the list of all the cases filed by the petitioner with details of their disposal and pendency as well as the nature of such petitions.
It also issued notices to the SBC and SHCBA to assist it on this issue.
“To come up after four weeks. In the meantime no construction be raised in violation of approved plan and/or regulations,” the bench ruled.
It also issued direction to club the identical petitions filed by the petitioners for joint hearing since a common question was involved in such petitions.
Meanwhile, the same bench on Tuesday issued similar directions for the petitioner in another petition filed against alleged encroachments around and upon the Malir River.
Mr Naqvi alleged that an MNA of PPP from Malir district by using his office had encroached upon a vast area of the Malir River and carved out plots/houses for further sale to the public.
The bench issued notices to the respondents and the advocate general, but also directed the petitioner to argue whether the matter be considered as pro bono and could permit him to act like a professional lawyer.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2020