The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal filed against a Sindh High Court (SHC) order that banned the construction of a multi-story building in the parking area of Askari-IV neighborhood in Karachi. The appeal was submitted by the Army Housing Directorate.
During the hearing, a three-member bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, raised questions about the legal status of the Army Housing Directorate. The bench asked the petitioner’s counsel, Abid Zuberi, about the Directorate’s status in the Constitution, Rules of Business 1983, or any law.
CJP Isa remarked, “The Army Housing Directorate is neither a charitable organization nor a corporation. How can an institution file a petition when it doesn’t have legal recognition in the Constitution and the law?” He expressed surprise at the Advocate on Record who allowed the directorate to file the appeal.
In response, Abid Zubairi explained that the Army Housing Directorate was established through a Presidential Order in 1982. Justice Athar Minallah, a member of the bench, noted that the armed forces have no jurisdiction beyond Article 245.
Addressing Advocate Zuberi, Justice Isa stated, “You are a highly experienced lawyer, but you are representing an institution that lacks a legal existence. Cases cannot be heard for entities that do not legally exist.” The court also inquired if federal government departments could hire private lawyers for their cases.
The court previously noted that if the Army Housing Directorate was the aggrieved party, it could file the appeal through the federal government.
“In this particular case, the Army Housing Directorate has, in fact, made the federal government, including the country’s president, a party to the case. Is this a case against the federal government by the federal government itself?” CJP Isa questioned.
The court later deemed the petition non-maintainable, stating that an appeal by a petitioner without legal recognition cannot be heard. The court also rejected the special representation request from the complainants’ lawyer, Moazzam Jaffery, due to his absence.