The Punjab Advocate General was served with a notice by the Lahore High Court on Thursday, demanding his assistance in defining the Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA). Justice Shahid Karim, hearing a case challenging the validity of the RUDA Act 2020, ruled that the authority’s property acquisition looked to lack any element of public welfare.
The petitioner, a private developer, was represented by Advocate Waqar A. Sheikh of the LHC, who argued that the impugned Act was irrational and violated the Local Government Act 2019 and Article 140-A of the Constitution. He further stated that the challenged law was incompatible with the Lahore Development Authority Act of 1975. According to the lawyer, the Ravi Urban Development Authority came into existence to take land from farmers and other landowners. He pointed out that the Ravi Urban Development Authority was established with bank loans to acquire land rather than monies intended for public use. The Ravi Urban Development Authority was established not for the river Ravi but rather as a competing government agency to favor developers affiliated to Pakistan’s ruling Tehreek-i-Insaf.
He said that the challenged Act’s principal goal was to grab land through the state for a few developers’ profit. He asked the court to declare Ruda’s establishment illegal and to nullify all of the company’s earlier notices. Justice Karim has given the AGP till the second week of September to respond to his notice. RUDA’s land acquisition for the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project had been delayed by the LHC un-resolve the completion of an environmental impact assessment. Several petitioners had raised concerns about Ravi Urban Development Authority’s approach and mode of land acquisition for the project.
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They made the hearing for the land acquisition objection on March 2 but cancelled it due to a law and order crisis on that day. They alleged that RUDA’s land acquisition collector granted 18 awards on the same day totaling billions of rupees notwithstanding these circumstances. The legitimacy of the Land Purchase Act of 1894, which allowed for the forcible purchase of land for commercial purposes. The petitioners also questioned it.
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