KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Friday expressed resentment over local administration for awarding a charged parking contract in the busy area of Saddar without any auction.
When a two-judge bench headed by SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh came to know that the authorities were still charging parking fees from citizens despite the fact that the term of the contract had been ended around a month ago, the court remarked that it would never allow the authorities to collect parking fees illegally.
It directed the district administration Karachi (South) to award the charged parking contract afresh after completing all legal formalities and file a report within three weeks.
Mairaj Ahmed Khan petitioned the SHC stating that the last contract awarded to M/s Baloch & Company by the director charged parking of the district municipal corporation (DMC-South) to collect parking fees in the areas of Saddar had ended on April 30. However, he submitted that the parking fee was still being collected by the contractor in connivance with DMC-South officials.
Bench gives authorities three weeks to complete process in transparent manner
The director-charged parking of the DMC-South in his report stated that after the expiry of the last contract, a new contract was awarded to another contractor M/s SFR Valet Parking Services to collect parking fee for the intervening period till the next public auction was conducted.
He claimed that an inquiry was conducted into allegations of overcharging and the contractor was fined for collecting fees more than the prescribed rates mentioned in the council resolution passed in October 2016.
The chief justice came down hard on the official for filing an unsatisfactory report and deplored that the petition was filed against collection of illegal parking fee on May 13 and two days later the contract was awarded.
The chief justice asked the officials under which law such a contract was awarded that too without a public auction.
The bench was so angry that it also asked the director as to how much bribe had been taken to award the contract.
The director, however, denied the bribery charge and informed the judges that he was recently posted in the department.
At one point, the bench summoned the Karachi commissioner after the officials present in court failed to offer any satisfactory reply. Later, an additional commissioner appeared in court and submitted that the commissioner was busy in connection with the visit of the prime minister.
He submitted that the commissioner office had nothing to do with charged parking since it came within the domain of respective district municipal corporations in the metropolis.
The bench was further informed that the May 15 notification issued by the DMC-South about the charged parking in the Saddar area had been withdrawn.
Subsequently, the bench directed the respondents to issue a new contract after holding a public auction in a transparent manner and file a compliance report in three weeks.
Published in Dawn, May 27TH, 2023