Sunday Jun 20 2021

SC wants Nasla Tower occupants removed, demolition expedited

A picture of the Nasla Tower built at the Shahrah-e-Quaideen in Karachi. Photo: File
A picture of the Nasla Tower built at the Shahrah-e-Quaideen in Karachi. Photo: File

  • SC says Nasla Tower encroached and blocked service road. 
  • All excess area measuring 341 square yards occupied by Nasla Tower building encroached onto service area, says apex court. 
  • Court directs Nasla Tower owners to refund price of the shops, residential units and other areas sold to registered owners within 3 months. 

KARACHI: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Saturday directed Commissioner Karachi to remove occupants of the Nasla Tower and expedite its demolition. 

The instructions by the apex court were provided in a detailed order after an application was filed by the Nasla Tower owners with a request that SMCHS may be declared in possession of the layout plan of blocks A and B of SMCHS, and a notice be issued to them and the KMC for the layout plan.

The court also issued notice to the owners of Nasla Tower to examine the legality of the tower encroaching the service road.

The three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the chief justice, observed in its order that plot 193-A, measuring 780 square yards and bearing survey No 242 survey sheet Stratchen Quarters, was allotted to Nusrat Ali on December 23, 1950 and later to his widow, Mustafai Begum, who entered into a lease agreement on March 12, 1955 with SMCHS. 

The court observed that in 1957, the main road proposed to be 280 ft wide was realigned, reducing its width to 240 ft and the excess 40 ft (20 ft on each side) was allotted to SMCHS on December 27, 1957 by the chief commissioner Karachi and subsequently, to Mustafai Begum extending the area of the plot to 1,044 square yards without incorporating the additional land either in the original/amended lease nor in any subsequent lease deed. 

The court observed that the present owner of the plot ultimately acquired it by way of a conveyance deed executed in 2015.

The court said the tower was initially meant for residential purposes. However, after a decision by the City District Government Karachi, an additional 77 square yards were given to the owners. This act was done,  following the payment of a commercialization fee on February 15, 2010.

The court observed that a report from Mukhtiarkar Ferozabad stated that SMCHS and the owners of the Nasla Tower, through construction, blocked the service road. 

The court inquired the counsel of the building to explain as how the registered lease to the original owner of the plot could confer and or transfer rights on an area beyond 780 square yards. The counsel submitted that then chief commissioner Karachi agreed to do so on payment of the full market price. 

He argued that said letters confer title/leasehold rights on the additional land. The court rejected the argument and observed that letters and certificates issued by the SMCHS regarding increase from 780 square yards to 1,044 square yards are also of no legal consequence to confer title or leasehold rights to the original allottees or the subsequent leases/purchasers.

The court observed that no one had denied that the tower had encroached into the service road and beyond the area it was provided in the original leasse agreement. The court observed that commissioner Karachi has also categorically stated that all excess area measuring 341 square yards occupied by Nasla Tower building has encroached.

The court said that after scrutinising the records and documents, it had become clear that the Nasla Tower had encroached onto the service road and among other things, blocked it. 

The court observed that since the area encroached by the tower had been illegally constructed and it was blocking the service road, the tower should be demolished. 

The court directed commissioner Karachi to demolish the high rise building Nasla Tower after removing all occupants and submit a report before the court in the next hearing. 

The court directed that owners of the building shall refund the price of the shops, residential units and other areas sold to the registered owners within three months.

The court observed that in case of delay, the claimants may claim markup/profit at the bank rate together with damages and may initiate proceedings for implementation of the court order before a court of competent jurisdiction.