Pakistan

PTI govt flagship project RUDA’s future in limbo

Justice Shahid Karim of Lahore High Court held as maintainable a number of petitions against the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project (RRUDP).

Judge earlier had reserved the verdict on objection raised on behalf of the Punjab government that these petitions were not maintainable after promulgation of an ordinance.

Judge dismissed the objection of the Punjab government and declared the petitions maintainable.

Now the further proceedings on these petitions would be held to decide the matter.

Judge had already stayed the process of land acquisition for the project for not meeting the legal requirements and environmental laws.

The main petitions against the project were filed by Advocates Sheraz Zaka, Ahmad Rafay Alam and others on behalf of the farmers. The counsel challenged the mode and manner of the land acquisition proceedings undertaken by RUDA for the project. 

Counsel submitted that the land acquisition collector, despite a protest by the landowners, passed 18 awards on a single day amounting to multiple billion rupees. Counsel had also challenged the legality of forceful acquisitions of land for commercial purposes under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

Advocate general Punjab Ahmad Awais had raised objection on maintainability of these petitions by submitting that since the amended ordinance had been issued to cover legal infirmities the stay orders granted by the court stood vacated and petitions had become infructuous. He asserted that the courts could not interfere in the policy matters of the government.

Judge overruled this objection and ordered to proceed on the main petitions to proceed.  

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