PESHAWAR: Three businessmen have challenged the housing society rules in the province claiming the minimum 160 kanals land requirement for developing a housing scheme is discriminatory as that requirement is 100 kanals in other provinces.

Petitioners Minhaj Ali, Irfan Ahmad and Aftab Ahmad, all from Nowshera area, have requested the court to declare discriminatory and illegal the KP Local Government (Site Development Scheme) Rules, 2015, wherein the minimum land required for developing a housing scheme is 160 kanals.

The petitioners, who own the Khattak Allied Construction Company, have also challenged the demolition of their office in Jalozai area by an additional deputy commissioner.

Petition says condition of 160 kanals land for a scheme discriminatory

They said they owned 100 kanals of land named ‘Nisar Gardens’ but the government didn’t issue them NOC for developing a housing scheme on it insisting the land didn’t measure 160 kanals.

The petitioners, whose lawyer is Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel, said the rules were delegated legislation and had limitations provided by jurisprudence and constitutional law.

They said when legislative powers were delegated, certain guidelines, principles and standards are given with it and the executive authority only have to fill the skeleton given to it by parliament or provincial assembly to make the act smoothly executable.

The petitioners, however, said no such guidelines, principles and standard was given to the executive or government for the impugned rules or any other rules or regulations made under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act, 2013, which made it an excessive delegation and ultra vires of the Constitution.

They referred to the recent rules enacted by the Peshawar Development Authority for private housing societies, which kept the minimum land criteria for private housing society as 100 kanals.

The petitioners said the Punjab and other provincial governments had put the requirement at 100 kanal.

They said the Gwadar authorities had set 36 kanals criteria, which could be relaxed if a request was made.

The petitioners said the executives were so blinded by power that they demolished their office, which was used for taking developmental contracts in Jalozai area and had nothing to do with the housing society, even when they didn’t have the power to do so.

They said the only power given to the deputy commissioner was not to allow advertisement, sale and purchase of a housing project without lawful NOC but the authorities demolished an office and a personal property worth millions of rupees unlawfully.

The petitioners said the additional deputy commissioner trespassed on their property and demolished their office and a private residence in excess of authority and therefore, they were condemned unheard.

They said the additional deputy commissioner and several other officers had been running their private pages on social media and were trying to ‘impress’ public at large.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2020