SC admonishes DHA over non-compliance of verdict, orders demolition of illegal shops

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Expressing displeasure over failure to comply with its 2012 orders to demolish illegal shops at a multi-storey commercial plaza in Karachi DHA phase-V, the Supreme Court (SC) ordered the DHA and South District Municipal Corporation (DMC) to seal the 39 shops and have them demolished immediately.

A two-judge bench, comprising Justices Gulzar Ahmed and Sajjad Ali Shah, also directed the Karachi commissioner to personally supervise the demolition.

The directives came on a petition filed by the Defence Officers Housing Authority against the Grace Builders Private Limited with the top court’s Karachi Registry. The shops are built in the parking area of Grace Centre, located along Khayaban-e-Hafiz.

The orders to remove the illegal shops were first issued on September 2, 2012. On August 3, 2017, the apex court again directed the DHA and South DMC to have the illegal structures removed from the basement, which was originally reserved for the parking.

During Monday’s proceedings, after three months, the judges enquired about the implementation of the court’s earlier orders. However, an additional advocate general informed the bench that the DHA management was requested to provide the machinery to demolish the shops, but it had failed to do so.

The judges admonished the DHA for failing to comply with the court’s directives issued on August 3 as well as in the past. The judges reminded DHA officials that the orders for removing the shops were issued in 2012, but they had failed to implement them.

The judges observed in their earlier verdict that the DHA had no authority to condone illegal constructions in a parking space as such powers were vested with the cantonment board under Sections 184 and 185 of the Cantonments Act.

They also asked the DHA officials as to how they had allowed the conversion of the land reserved for amenity purposes and not complied with the court’s orders issued five years ago.