islamabad - The Supreme Court on Tuesday while disposing a case related to authorized and unauthorized marriage halls in Islamabad directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to regularise unauthorised marquees by taking regularisation charges.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar comprising of two other judges, Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Munib Akhtar heard the case in Islamabad. Earlier, on last hearing, CDA had informed the apex court that 13 out of a total of 80 marquees couldn’t be regularised due to their presence in the area where such facilities are not allowed as per the zoning regulations of the civic body. According to a list prepared by the civic body, wedding halls and marquees in capital city are divided into three categories; those fulfilling the requirements, those lacking few requirements but same can be overcome and those which cannot be regularised under the prevailing bylaws. 

However, the top court heard the arguments of the owners of the marquees, which were declared absolutely illegal by CDA. The owners argued that the civic body did not object when their marquees were being constructed and by demolishing the same, the owners’ right to hold property and right to do lawful business granted in the constitution of Pakistan will suffer. While arguing the case, the counsel representing a marquee owner also demanded compensation in case of demolishing the marquee owned by his client. They assured that the marquee owners are willing to pay any charges levelled against them by CDA for their regularisation. 

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar remarked that the court could not give an unchecked liberty for illegal developments in the city whereas he also criticised the role of CDA, which did not take any action against these illegal marriage halls in Islamabad. 

The court ordered the marquee owners to pay regularisation charges to CDA and seek a no objection certificate (NOC) from the authority while disposing off the case.  When contacted by The Nation, the Director Building Control Faisal Naeem explained that the Supreme Court ordered to regularise the wedding halls according to the existing building bylaws.

“Those marquees, which will not meet the criteria set by the authority for regularisation will ultimately face legal action prescribed in our regulations”, he told, adding “ We will wait till the written order of the court before taking any adverse action against these marriage halls.”

The CDA had already submitted parameters for the regularisation of wedding halls in the apex court and also took an approval from its board.

As per the new parameters for regularizing halls and marquees, drafted by the CDA’s planning wing, halls seeking CDA endorsement must be spread over at least four kanals of land. Moreover, halls will be allowed to have three combinations. These include lower ground, ground plus one storey and ground plus two storeys. Basements at these establishments will only be authorized to be used as parking areas. Moreover, there must be at least one parking space for every 250 square feet of covered area.

The draft regulations further stipulate that a minimum of eight kanals of land will be required to set up marquees. Moreover, owners will have to reserve at least 70 per cent of the total area for parking and circulation.