Allotment of CDA plots on subsidised rates unconstitutional, says SC.

ISLAMABAD -- The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has observed that allotment of plots to the employees of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and selected categories on subsidised rates was contradictory to the constitutional provisions and directed the cash-strapped federal government to ensure disposal of state land at competitive prices.

IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb on a petition of CDA employee Mohammad Iqbal seeking a subsidised plot in Sector D-12 observed that 'any criteria made by the CDA board which is not designed to achieve the best possible price for the plots in other sectors would be prima facie repugnant to the Article 173 of the Constitution that empowered the government to acquire land as well as the law laid down by the superior courts.'

Section 49 of the Capital Development Authority Ordinance 1960 provides that the CDA may retain, or may lease, sell, exchange, rent or otherwise dispose of any land vested in it. It is implied in the said provision that the sale or disposal of CDA's land has to be at the best possible rates which can only be realised through an auction or a competitive bidding process.

To dispose of land at a rate even slightly lower than the market rate that can be realised for it in a transparent auction or a competitive bidding process would be prima facie not just irrational but detrimental to the state, the court observed.

Justice Aurangzeb says disposal of land should be at best possible rates

The court order states, 'Allotment of a plot worth millions of rupees is not part of the terms and conditions of service of any of the categories of employees/public functionaries mentioned in Regulation 5(1) of the 2005 Regulations. To provide them with a windfall in the form of the allotment of a plot at a rate which is not commensurate to the rate that can be realised for it in an open auction is a strain on the national exchequer...'

The legislature intended to give the federal government oversight over the affairs of the CDA through Section 48 of the CDA Ordinance. Upon the furnishing of returns and statements, it becomes the obligation of the federal government to ensure that the financial affairs of the civic agency are managed strictly in accordance with the law, observed the judge.

The CDA is a statutory body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Interior; therefore, the court directed the federal government to consider the adverse effect of Regulation 5 of the 2005 Regulations...

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