Islamabad - The Capital Development Authority (CDA) on Friday following the directions of Islamabad High Court (IHC) unsealed 21 out of 59 schools, which were earlier, closed down on non-confirming use of residential buildings.
The ongoing drive against private educational institutions working from residential premises backfired when the Private Schools’ Association approached the IHC and argued that their members were not given notices prior to the closure of premises.
Capital Development Authority, in response, accepted that it did not serve notices in some cases however the Director Building Control Muhammad Faisal Naeem informed the court that the owners were warned through advertisement in national dailies.
Justice Amir Farooq of IHC in its order disposed off the said writ petition and set aside CDA’s action while declaring it against the rules and regulations.
The court however did not restrict city managers from conducting operation at large and stated that the respondents (Capital Development Authority) are at liberty to pursue against members of petitioner association on account of non-conforming use after due compliance of law.
Muhammad Faisal Naeem while responding to the judgment passed by IHC said that the order will not affect the operation at large and only those schools have been unsealed for the time being which were not served fresh notices.
“We have closed the premises of 59 schools so far while only 21 out of total have been unsealed today”, he said, adding; “The schools will ultimately be removed from residential areas because these are the orders of superior courts in this regard.”
Though, a general operation against non-conforming use of residential buildings across the city has been going on since 2014.
However, the civic body had showed leniency towards 367 educational institutions and placed them in the last row because of the directions of the interior minister at that time and the chairman Capital Development Authority and due to multiple litigations.
When contacted, the legal counsel representing private schools in IHC, the Vice Chairman Islamabad Bar Council Fiaz Ahmed Jindran said: “I was representing 26 schools and not a single one received prior notice from Capital Development Authority.”
“The court has declared CDA’s action as illegal and our schools got unsealed today in compliance of court order”, he added, commenting: “We will challenge CDA’s notices on appropriate forum once we received.”
It is pertinent to mention here that Capital Development Authority board on Thursday approved a set of recommendations to smoothly shift private schools from the residential areas and also gave a green light to an ongoing operation against the said educational institutions operating in residential premises.
The board also rejected a proposal to allow preschools in residential premises and asked the concerned formation to complete the ongoing operation without any discrimination.
muhammad asad chaudhry