LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has restrained the Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda) from carrying out any land acquisition process outside the orders of the Supreme Court.

Justice Shahid Karim issued the order on a petition of an organisation namely Public Interest Law Association of Pakistan.

Advocate Ahmad Rafay Alam, who represented the petitioner, argued before the court that further and new acquisitions were being done by Ruda, which was in contravention of a judgment passed by the Supreme Court on Jan 31, 2022.

The counsel also questioned the legitimacy of an ordinance which amended the Ruda Act 2020 which was promulgated on Sept 14, 2022. He said the new ordinance was the same which was earlier struck down by the high court.

He asked the court to restrain Ruda from illegal acquisition of land for the Riverfront Urban Development Project.

Justice Karim issued notices to the Punjab government and the Ruda for submission of replies by Nov 23. The judge also restrained Ruda from carrying out any acquisition in violation of the Supreme Court’s judgment till the next hearing.

The LHC had scrapped the riverfront project by declaring several provisions of the Ruda Act 2020 and the acquisition of agricultural land for the project unconstitutional.

The court had also directed the Ruda to return a loan of Rs5 billion to the provincial government it received for the project.

The Supreme Court had suspended the decision, however, restrained the Ruda and other allied agencies from undertaking any work on ground beyond lands that had already been acquired.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2022

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