KARACHI: Sindh High Court (SHC) single bench on Tuesday once again restrained Bahria Town from carrying out construction on a flyover and two underpasses near Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Clifton, Karachi.
Justice Munib Akhtar, who headed a single bench, announced the verdict on a lawsuit of Defence Housing Authority (DHA) against the construction of a flyover and two underpasses in Clifton area by a private property developer for not having Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the projects.
Justice Munib while allowing the application of DHA ordered “all construction in relation to the project is restrained and stopped immediately.”
He directed Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) to obtain a mandatory environmental impact assessment (EIA) report from Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) on the project.
The bench also directed Sepa to prepare EIA report strictly in accordance with law and adhering to the environmental laws on top priority basis. It said that if EIA is approved KMC shall be at liberty to move an appropriate application in this suit to recall and vacation of the interim order issued by court.
Justice Munib observed: “One point seems to be clear that public funds are not, as such, involved in the project. Bahria Town must bear the risk of any ‘negative consequences’ flowing from the project if it is stopped on account of the law having been flouted and disregarded.
Pakistan Defence Officers Housing Authority had filed the lawsuit against the flyover and underpasses project for allegedly being built without complying with the requirements of environmental protection laws and getting approval from concerned authorities.
It had stated that the impugned project, being financed and executed by Bahria Town at the estimated cost of Rs 1.8 billion, required Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as only an Initial Environmental Assessment (IEE) had been submitted for the project so far.
Issuance of IEE by Sepa was contrary to law and such approval cannot permit to execute the instant projects, he argued.
Earlier, the single bench had granted stay order against the construction of the project but such interim order was later suspended by the SHC division bench on appeal filed by the Bahria Town. The Bahria Town had filed a High Court Appeal (HCA) against interim stay order granted by single bench on lawsuit of DHA.
Justice Munib noted that SHC division bench had observed in order on HCA that it is clarified that the learned single judge is at liberty to pass appropriate order on application under Order XXXIX Rule 1&2 CPC pending before him strictly in accordance with law without being influenced from any observations made by it, which are or tentative nature.
In view of the observation made by SHC division bench, Justice Muneeb Akhtar dismissed KMC application against interim stay order and made effective its interim stay order against project.
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