KARACHI: Taking exception to mushroom growth of illegal buildings in the city, the Sindh High Court has said it is not possible that such constructions are being carried out without being in the notice of Sindh Building Control Authority officials.

The SHC also noted that either the SBCA officials were in league or they were incompetent to perform their duties.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar and Justice Mohammad Abdur Rahman directed the secretaries of finance and local government departments to submit reports about funds provided to the SBCA in the last five years.

The secretary of LG department was also directed to file details of all director general of SBCA appointed during last five years.

The bench also summoned the SBCA chief along with a report of complete record of funds provided by the government as well as fees/penalties of approvals/regularisation of different projects in last five years as well as utilisation of such funds.

Observes that it’s impossible the authority is unaware of illegal construction

It further asked the DG to turn up on March 5 and present such a report including details of vehicles provided to inspectors and deputy directors of SBCA to visit sites in order to prevent any violation of building plan.

The bench also directed the director general of SBCA to inform the court as to whether they had any force to enforce the law or intending to establish such a force to ensure that illegal constructions were not carried out and common man must be aware of approval of building plan or people should be informed with regard to illegal constructions before booking or getting possession of such buildings/apartments.

Whether such digital mobile app introduced by the SBCA regarding verification of approvals was accessible to common man, it asked.

The bench in its order further said: “Issue pertains to illegal construction in different areas of metropolitan city; prime duty is of the Sindh Building Control Authority and they have complete mechanism to check and stop in case of illegal construction, lodge reports; that is criminal offence and special courts are required to be established to try the offences.

“Mushroom growth of illegal buildings without notice of SBCA officials is not appealable, either they are in league or they are incompetent to perform their duties,” it concluded.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2024

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