The Supreme Court has ruled that the grant / allotment / lease of 200 acres of land at Sewage Farm, Manghopir Road, Karachi (Gutter Baghicha) to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Co-operative Housing Society Limited is entirely at unlawful, not backed by law and void ab initio.
“We therefore hold and declare that the grant of 200 acres of land by the Minister of Local Government of Sindh contained in the minutes of the meeting of 06.03.1993 mentioned in the document of 09.03.1993, the approval of the Government of Sind empties the letter of 25.07.1993, the letter of allotment of 03.08.1993, the letter of possession of 03.08.1993 and the deed of lease of 11.08.1993, are all against the law, illegal and therefore nullified, by implication, all consequential awards made by the Society to its members are also declared to be unlawful and illegal and are also nullified and voided, “said a 15-page order written by the judge in Chief Gulzar Ahmed.
A special bench comprising Chief Justice and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard the constitutional petition against the allocation of 200 acres of Gutter Baghicha land to KMC Co-operative Housing Society Limited, which was earmarked for the park. The court ordered the administrator of KMC to use the land for this purpose.
The Supreme Court ordered the KMC administrator to submit his report within two weeks, showing that he had complied with its order.
The court order noted that since the time of partition, a plot of land measuring 1,016 acres for the sewer farm on Manghopir Road, popularly known as Gutter Baghicha, existed in Karachi. The land was said to be for amenity purposes.
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“This whole plot of land is now almost in the heart of the city of Karachi. Gutter Baghicha land is owned by Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) for developing it as a park and creating other amenities there. At the time, some part of Gutter Baghicha land has been occupied without permission and it is alleged that part of it is occupied by Kachi Abadis while other part is occupied by factory or industry. Cemeteries also exist on part of this land. On part of this land there is the KDA TP-I treatment plant, the incineration plant and also the pumping station.”
The court said KMC was mandated by law to establish and maintain parks in Karachi and to ensure that none of the plots intended for such purposes were occupied and encroached upon.
“KMC appears to have failed to secure the Gutter Baghicha land measuring 1,016 acres and permitted its encroachment and there also appears to be illegal allotments on portions of this Gutter Baghicha land,” the order reads.
The Higher Court further observed that KMC, Council, Government of Sindh or Minister of Local Government had no authority to grant 200 acres of land of Sewage Farm, Manghopir Road, Karachi (Gutter Baghicha) to the company .
The order stated that the law did not authorize such a grant, allotment or sale of land to the company for KMC employees for housing and business use. He said the land, as stated in the provision itself, is to be used to establish, maintain or expand educational, religious and charitable organizations and for the benefit of the public.
“Thus, since its inception, the Company has wrongfully claimed the land granted to it under the provision of section 45(5)(i) of the 1979 Ordinance and the very grant made under this provision even by the Administrator/Council or the Government of Sindh is totally against the law and can only be considered as an illegal but void exercise,” the order said.
The court also noted that 200 acres of land had been granted/allocated/leased by KMC to the company for the purpose of housing its own employees.
“This provision of the law does not at all provide that the Council may grant, sell or lease the KMC land to its own employees for housing and business purposes. The land which is authorized to be granted, sold or leased, in first place is to associations, organizations, individuals or any department or institution of the federal or provincial government and that also to establish, maintain or extend educational, religious and charitable institutions and for other purposes for the benefit of the public. for residential and commercial purposes to KMC employees will not be for the benefit of the public only,” the order noted.
The court also noted that the Gutter Baghicha land was not a construction site where buildings for residential and commercial purposes could be erected.
The court order declared that all of Gutter Baghicha’s land was pleasure land and could only be used to create a park.
‘The right to lease pleasure land cannot be given to a company and no such thing is provided for in Rule 10 of the 1975 Regulations,’ the order said.