Lyari Expressway SHC stays demolition of houses in Liaquatabad

KARACHI, Jan 7: The Sindh High Court on Monday restrained the Lyari Expressway project and other respondents from demolishing the houses of as many as 32 residents of Liaquatabad without giving them compensation.

A division bench headed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan also directed the respondents to maintain the status quo and not displace the petitioners till the next order.

The petitioners, represented by Advocate Shaukat Ali Shaikh, stated that they were settled in Laiquatabad and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the Karachi Development Authority had regularised their plots granting registered lease to them since 1966.

Their counsel submitted that disputes between the petitioners and the respondents pertained only to the valuation of their properties, but the respondents were not willing to pay compensation amount to them as per directions of the SHC as they were only Rs10,000 per square yard, while the petitioners claimed Rs50,000/sq yard and as well as the price of construction was also different between the petitioners and the respondents.Advocate Shaikh submitted that the principles laid down for determination of compensation to the affected people of the project was adequately enough in the sense that they were to be given “gold for gold and not copper for gold”.The petitioners in their petition submitted that on the other hand respondents were trying to demolish their houses though they had registered lease deeds.They stated that the respondents did not pay the compensation amount to them as per directions of the SHC and their acts were against Section 16 (2) of the Land Acquisition (Sindh amendment) Act, 2009.

The petitioners stated that they first filed a petition before the SHC that accepted the rights of the petitioners.

They recalled that the SHC while disposing of their petition had directed the respondent to either resolve the dispute through private settlement or by appropriate compensation to the petitioners in accordance with law keeping in view the areas leased out in their favour and construction raised thereon.

The petitioners submitted that in the second round of the litigation the SHC accepted the rights of the petitioners and disposed of the petitions (D-2088/2009) on Dec 12, 2010 with a direction to the respondents that the petitioners may not be dispossessed without complying with the formalities as required under the Land Acquisition Act.

They said that the directions of the court were binding on the respondents but neither did they resolve the dispute through private settlement with the petitioners nor did they follow law, although appropriate compensation amount was their right.

The petitioners said that they were unwilling to hand over their houses to the respondents because they had not received the market price of their houses by the respondents.The petitioners stated that the revenue officer had discussed Deh-wise price of state land for the purpose of the allotment and in the said meeting land of Liaquatabad was mentioned as Rs25,000/- per square yard, being minimum valuation of the property although market value of the property was more then Rs45,000 per sq yard.

They submitted that under Sections 11 and 23 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 it was the responsibility of the respondents/collector to consider the potential value and future prospects of the land or compulsory charges, depreciation in currency in addition to one year average of the properties of the petitioners but the respondents were not willing to comply with the requirements.

The petitioners stated that the respondents had still not paid the compensation to those householders whose land was acquired by the respondents in the year 2006 and demolished their houses without paying the compensation.

The petitioners prayed to the court to direct the respondents to pay an adequate compensation as per market value or consider Section 23 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

They also requested the court to appoint the nazir of the court to ascertain the market value or compulsory charges.

The petitioner also prayed to the court to restrain the respondents, their agents, servants and subordinates from demolishing their houses and not to harass and pressurise them till they received compensation as per market value or the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 from nazir of the court.

The bench issued notices to the chief secretary, administrator of the KMC, director general of the Lyari Expressway project, federal finance secretary and others and adjourned the hearing till Jan 31.