Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday nullified the notifications regarding acquisition of land for the development of Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF) housing schemes in sectors F-14 and F-15.
A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah announced his detailed judgment in this petition moved by Malik Bashir Ahmed and others.
In this petition, the petitioner had nominated Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation (FGEHF), Capital Development Authority (CDA) and additional land collector (ALC) as respondents.
However, the bench note: “It shall be opened for the Capital Development Authority to forthwith initiate proceedings for acquisition of land in accordance with the provisions of Ordinance (CDA Ordinance) of 1960 and the regulations made there under for planning and development of sectors F-14, F-15 for the general public.”
Petitioners, natives of village located in the said sectors had filed petitions against the land acquisition process for FGEHF. A land acquisition collector had issued a notification on May 20, 2015 and then Commissioner Islamabad issued another notification on December 4, 2015 for acquisition of land for the purpose of FGEHF housing schemes describing it ‘public purpose’. Petitioners said that due to the notifications their fundamental rights under articles 9, 23, 24 and 25 are violated depriving them of their ancestral land .
In their petition, they sought from the court to declare that the land of the petitioners could only be acquired under CDA ordinance and land acquisition procedure for the purpose of master plan only.
They prayed to the court to declare that self-financing house schemes on ownership basis for federal government employees are without lawful justification and hence the notification issued for acquisition of land should be declared illegal, unlawful, arbitrary, mala fide, discriminatory and without jurisdiction.
They adopted that without following law and procedure, the acquisition of land is not for the benefit of general public. Petitioners had also been requesting the court to treat them under the ‘land for land’ policy and any other formula for compensation be declared illegal and unlawful.
In its verdict, the IHC bench said, “The impugned notifications were based on illegal approval sought from the Prime Minister which offended the Constitutional mandate. Likewise, the object for which land was being acquired definitely does not meet the stringent criterion of public purpose.”
The court declared that the acquisition proceedings, all actions and orders relating to acquiring land for the foundation (FGEHF) in sectors F-14 and F-15 are declared as illegal, void and without jurisdiction and legal effect besides being ultra vires the constitution and the law.
Justice Athar observed that the approval of housing scheme to establish in sectors F-14 & 15 was accorded by the prime minister without placing before the federal cabinet, whereas no act of parliament empowers the prime minister to sell, transfer lease or in any other manner dispose of land or government assets other than in a transparent manner.
He added that such an act attracts provision of national accountability ordinance (NAO) for corruption and corrupt practices under section 9(a)(v). Interestingly, prime minister on November 4, 2013 had turned down the summary which he later approved.
IHC bench expressed its surprise over the fact that despite notifications for acquisition of land were challenged and matter was sub-judice before the court, FGEHF in April 2017, on its own risk issued offer letters to its members and collected substantial amount of money as first installment.