Nasla Tower: The Supreme Court orders the commissioner to evacuate the building’s tenants and begin destruction as soon as possible
KARACHI: (Monitoring Desk) After taking custody of the Nasla Tower at Sindhi Muslim Cooperative Housing Society, the Supreme Court on Saturday ordered commissioner Karachi to evacuate all tenants and complete the destruction of the structure as soon as practicable.
The decision came in a detailed order on a petition made by the Nasla Tower owners, who requested that SMCHS be proclaimed in control of the layout plan for blocks A and B of SMCHS and that notice be issued to them and KMC for the layout plan. The court also served notice on the owners of Nasla Tower, instructing them to investigate the tower’s legality in encroaching on the service road.
Plot 193-A, assessing 780 square yards and bearing survey No 242 survey sheet Stratchen Quarters, was assigned to Nusrat Ali on December 23, 1950, and later to his widow Mustafai Begum, who joined into a lease contract with SMCHS on March 12, 1955, according to the SC’s three-member bench led by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed. The court noted that in 1957, the main road was rearranged, lowering its width to 240 ft, and the excess 40 ft (20 ft on each side) was apportioned to SMCHS on December 27, 1957 by the Chief Commissioner Karachi, and later to Mustafai Begum, bringing the plot’s total area to 1,044 square yards without including the land available in the original plan.
The court noted that the plot appeared to be intended for residential use, but that after the owners paid the commercialization price on February 15, 2010, an additional 77 square yards of SMCHS was given to them by the City District Government Karachi. The court noted that SMCHS was mentioned in a report by Mukhtiarkar Ferozabad.
The court asked the building’s lawyer to explain how the registered lease to the plot’s original owner could confer and or transfer rights over an area larger than 780 square yards. According to the attorney, the then-chief commissioner of Karachi agreed to do so in exchange for full market value. He claimed that the letters provide him title/leasehold rights to the extra land. The court dismissed the case, noting that letters and certificates given by the SMCHS indicating an increase from 780 to 1,044 square yards had no legal effect in conferring title or leasehold rights to the original allottees or subsequent leases.
The court noted that there was no dispute that the sudden expansion in area was accomplished by infringing on the service road, and that the tower now stands on land that was not leased at the time. The court noted that commissioner Karachi has definitely indicated that the Nasla Tower building’s excess space of 341 square yards is encroached upon. The court stated that in the event of a delay, the claimants may seek damages as well as a profit at the bank rate, as well as commence actions to enforce the court order before a court of law.