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     December 30,  2015

Detail

 


RIGHT OF COMPENSATION FOR FLOOD LOSSES

In the year 1975, the government via notification declared that citizens shall no more enjoy ownership rights over the rivers, riverbeds and streams. As a result, ownership, management and control of the rivers, riverbeds and streams falling in the territory of Chitral stood transferred and vested in the Federal government.  

The government failed to manage the rivers and streams through precautionary measures like embankments, Bunds, Flood Early Warning Systems and the Radar System. Flood increased in rivers and streams destroying lives and property from time to time. The biggest destruction occurred in July & August 2015. The victims who suffered enormous losses attached their expectations from the Federal and the Provincial government but to no avail.

Articles 9, 14, 23, 24, and 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan guarantee its citizens the fundamental rights of life, inviolability of dignity of man, right to hold property, protection of property rights and equality before law.  Therefore, it is the duty of the government to protect their lives and properties.

The honorable Supreme Court of Pakistan, in their judgment in Constitutional Petition No 62 0f 2010 ( Marvi Memon vs Federation of Pakistan etc ) dated 7-6-2011; Shehla Zia vs WAPDA ( PLD 1994 SC 693 )  Syed Masroor Ahsan vs Ardeshir Cawasjee ( PLD 1998 SC 823 ), and Sardar Farooq Ahmed Leghari vs Federation of Pakistan ( PLD 1999 SC 57 ) held that it is the duty of the government to protect the lives and properties of the citizens. The Supreme Court of Pakistan has also endorsed the judgment of the Supreme Court of India, in the case of Behar Legal Support Society vs Chief Justice of India (AIR 1986 SC 38) and the case of State of Himachal Pradesh vs Students parent Medical College Simla ( AIR 1985 SC 910 )The Supreme Court has endorsed the views of  Justice Bhagwati which reads as under;

“Where the court finds, on being moved by an aggrieved party or by any public spirited individual or social action group, that the Executive is remiss in discharging its obligations under the Constitution or the law, so that the poor and the underprivileged continue to be subjected to exploitation and injustice or are deprived of their social and economic entitlements or that social legislation enacted for their benefit is not being implemented thus depriving them of the rights and benefits conferred upon them, the court certainly can and must intervene and compel the Executive to carry out its Constitutional and legal obligations and ensure that the deprived and vulnerable sections of the community are no longer subjected to exploitation or injustice and they are able to realize their social and economic rights. When the court passes any orders in public interest litigation, the court does so not with a view to mocking at legislative or executive authority or in a spirit of confrontation but with a view to enforcing  the Constitution and the law, because it is vital for the maintenance of the rule of law that the obligations which are laid upon the executive by the Constitution and the law should be carried out faithfully and no one should go away with a feeling that the Constitution and the law are meant only for the benefit of a fortunate few and have no meaning for the large numbers of half-clad, half-hungry people of this country.”

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has endorsed and reproduced the opinion of Justice Bhagwati in the case of Behar Legal Support Society v. Chief Justice of India as follows:-

“The weaker sections of Indian humanity have been deprived of justice for long years; they had no access to justice on account of their poverty, ignorance and illiteracy. They are not aware of the rights and benefits conferred upon them by the constitution and the law. On account of their socially and economically disadvantaged position they lack the capacity to assert their rights, and they do not have the material resources with which to enforce their social and economic entitlements and combat exploitation and injustice.’’

The guarantees as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and the judgments of the Supreme Court of Pakistan are enough to make us understand that the flood affectees of Chitral have a genuine case of compensation for the flood losses. I am in the process of consultation with the legal experts across the country and eager to take the case to the relevant legal forum within the shortest possible time. 

 

Sultan Wazir Khan
Karachi.

 



 

 

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