Islamabad High Court orders release of salaries, de-freezing of CDA bank accounts
By: Faisal Kamal Pasha
Islamabad: A bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), comprising Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan and Justice Muhammad Azim Khan Afridi, here on Thursday ordered release of salaries and de-freezing of CDA bank accounts.
A single bench of the IHC, comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, during last hearing, had ordered attachment of salaries of the CDA chairman, members of the CDA board, director generals and directors of about 60 directorates. The single bench of the IHC had conditioned the payment of salaries and de-freezing of bank accounts of the CDA with compensation to the affected local residents of sectors H-16 and I-17.
The division bench annulled the decision of the single bench after the CDA filed an appeal. The CDA, in its appeal, contended that the civic body has been going through financial crunch. In case the CDA accounts would remain frozen, it would not be able to pay salaries to its employees and it would be a violation of the fundamental rights. The CDA would neither be able to pay its officers nor to employees of junior scales and that too in the month of Ramazan.
Legal adviser of the CDA Advocate Ramzan Chaudhry told the court that the CDA concedes to the matter that it has to pay compensation to the affected persons of H-16 and I-17, but the land award of the ‘build up property’ has yet to be done. The ICT administration had provided the CDA with incomplete record that created problems for it. He told the court that the owners of the land in the proposed sectors of H-16 and I-17 have not yet handed over land to the CDA.
Advocate Ramzan Chaudhry, through an intra-court appeal, contended that the CDA member finance on July 23 had explained to Justice Siddiqui the financial crunch being faced by the civic body, but the court attached salaries of the CDA officers.
He presented before the court a five-option programme to compensate the affected persons. He said that the civic authority was ready to solve the problem through these five options but the affected persons had rejected all of them. “We offered to them land-sharing i.e. developed plots against their acquired land or wait for the federal government’s decision if it approves a grant for compensation to the affected persons. “As a third option, we have written to the federal government to grant powers to the CDA for de-acquiring the land in case it is not in a position to pay the amount.” The CDA legal adviser argued before the court that as a fourth option we have offered to the affected persons the payment of money in instalments. “We also tabled a fifth option before the government that it may allow us to initiate a joint venture with a private or government agency for development of land.
The CDA counsel told the court that they had submitted this formula before the court of Justice Siddiqui but he did not consider it. He further argued that the single bench of the IHC gave its decision without hearing from our side.
The legal counsel of the affected persons of sectors H-16 and I-17 objected to the release of salaries to CDA officials, but the court gave its decision.