One of the most talked-about projects in Ravi was scrapped by the LHC. Several parts of the Ravi Urban Development Authority (Ruda) Act 2020 were unconstitutional by the Lahore High Court on Tuesday. This meant that the government’s Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project was scrapped.
Justice Shahid Karim said that he would rule on a lot of other cases. Still, he also said that taking land from farmers for the project was unconstitutional and violated people’s basic rights.
There aren’t any more details yet, but he read the main part of the decision. The judge said that Section 4 of the Ruda Act 2020 was not in line with Article 140-A of the Constitution, which deals with the formation of local governments.
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He also told the Ravi Urban Development Authority to return a loan of Rs5 billion to the Punjab government in two months. He said the authority had broken the law and started the project without a master plan.
Declares that taking agricultural land for the scheme is unconstitutional, which violates people’s basic rights.
Justice Karim also said that the Ruda (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 did not cover all of the law’s flaws. The judge said that the notification sent out under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 had not been sent out correctly. The judge said that people who bought land for the project didn’t do it legally.
Until Dec. 21, 2021, the judge was going to make a decision.
There were petitions from farmers, landowners, and developers who had lawyers like Sheraz Zaka, Ahmad Rafay Alam, Azhar Siddique, Waqar A. Sheikh, and others who filed them.
The petitioners were unhappy with how the Ravi Urban Development Authority bought land for the project. There were protests from people who owned land that was being taken, but the land acquisition collector still gave out 18 awards worth billions of dollars.
They also questioned the legality of taking land for commercial use through the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, passed in 1894. Some of the people who signed the petition were concerned about the legality of the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment that a non-registered consultant did.
The Punjab attorney general said that the project was important to the public and that the court didn’t have the right to get involved in the government’s policy decisions.
Barrister Ali Zafar, the Ravi Urban Development Authority lawyer, said that the project was good for the environment and would keep Lahore clean air and include a huge forest in it.
She told the court that the project was not for the benefit of the general public. Advocate Amina Qadir was chosen to act as an amicus curiae. She said the government couldn’t justify the plan because Punjab would lose its fertile plains because of the public trust law.
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