SC bans construction of housing societies on railways land

LAHORE: The Supreme Court on Thursday banned the construction of housing societies on railways land and ordered that records of Royal Palm Country & Golf Club be immediately seized. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar heard a suo motu case against the lease of railways land at SC’s Lahore Registry. During the hearing, the court declared all orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC) pertaining to the Royal Palm Country & Golf Club as ineffective and directed that “no record of railways land will exit the premises of Royal Palm Country & Golf Club”. Dissolving Royal Palm Country & Golf Club’s administration, the bench appointed Ferguson Chartered Company as the new administration and directed it to immediately seize all records. In its order, the SC said, “Royal Palm Country & Golf Club’s old administration will not enter the club premises and all programmes and activities will run as per routine.” The SC also called for records of all cases pertaining to the club which are ongoing in the LHC. During the hearing, the chief justice remarked, “We are imposing a ban on an over 3-year lease of railways’ agricultural land and the construction of housing societies on railways land.” Directing Ramzan Sheikh and his management to hand over the club to Ferguson company, Justice Nisar said, “Till the forensic audit is complete, the club will neither remain with the railways nor with Ramzan Sheikh.” “Royal Palm’s contract has been flawed since day one – billions were looted after joining hands with the railways to obtain the land. This is railways land and we will not let anyone keep it. Royal Palm owners are so influential that half the country listens to them,” the top judge added. Further during the hearing, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid said, “For God’s sake, retrieve railways land.” At this, the chief justice said, “Now, additional railways land will not be leased for an over three-year period. If the additional land is given to provinces then they will also sell it. We will let the railways land be with the railways and if provinces have reservations then they should file petitions in accordance with the law.”

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