Cooperative housing societies will no longer be permitted to use the names of state organizations. People who name their cooperative housing groups after government departments or ministries have been told by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) that they have three weeks to change their names or be punished.
Public interest case: This case has been going on for a long time. It first came up in the Islamabad High Court in the year 2020. At the time, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said that the names of government ministries or divisions couldn’t be used by private people to run housing societies, so they had to change them.
The high court made similar orders this week. This is the second time this week. Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat got a letter from the civic group on Friday. They asked him to make sure the circle registrar of Cooperative Housing Societies did what they said.
CDA spokeswoman Dawn said that as far as they know, the deputy commissioner will order the circle registrar of Cooperative Housing Societies to do something tomorrow (Monday).
A letter from the CDA asks DC to follow high court orders, and a directive is expected on Monday.
There is a sense of trustworthiness about housing societies because they use names of government departments and other organizations like the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Defense.
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Like retired government officials, people who want to invest think that their money will be safe because the housing society is linked to a government agency. However, there have been a number of cases where these people have been conned out of their life savings by illegal housing societies that use the names of state institutions.
Some investors only have the files for their plots, but not the land itself.
People who live in cooperative housing societies can’t use the name of government organizations, so they have to change their names. Housing Societies should be told to change their names within three weeks, says Shafqaat, the Deputy Commissioner of the city where Shafqaat lives.
Dawn talked to CDA Spokesperson Asif Shah, and he said there are about 40 cooperative housing societies in the federal capital now.
There have been a lot of them using the names of government bodies. As a result, their names need to be changed in the CDA records and in the Circle Registrar Office of the district government. People can be told to do things like this because of Section 16-A of the Cooperative Housing Act.
Asked what would happen if these societies didn’t change their names, Mr Shah said that they would have to hold annual general body meetings (AGMs) where the change of name could be discussed. After getting a majority vote, the cooperative housing society could adopt a new name.
Societies: If they don’t, we’ll have no choice but to tell the circle registrar Housing Societies to get rid of their management and take over these societies for us. Once this is done, the circle registrar will call the AGM, where a new name for the group will be discussed.
Mr Shah said that the city would follow the court’s orders. Cooperative housing societies that were built with money from the public or from the members are only under the jurisdiction of the CDA, he said. These orders only apply to those societies.
It’s important to point out that the city also has a list of illegal or unapproved housing projects in Islamabad. On the CDA website, there is a list of at least 140 of these groups.
Even among these, there are a lot of groups that use the names of government institutions, like the Judicial Employees Housing Scheme, Kirpa Chirah Road, the National Police Foundation on PWD Road, PTV Colony, and OGDCL Town.
Recently, a subcommittee was formed by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior to look into the issue of housing societies that didn’t give plots to people who had paid their dues, even though they had. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Employees’ Cooperative Housing Society, Jammu and Kashmir Housing Society, Pakistan Medical Cooperative Housing Society, Ghauri Town Housing Society, and Ghauri Green are some of the groups that the body is supposed to look into, as well as other groups.
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