SHC tells SBCA, KDA to submit report on safety of school property

The Sindh High Court has directed the Sindh Building Control Authority and the Karachi Development Authority to submit a report with regard to the safety of a private school’s property being affected due to the construction of a multi-storey building in the old Clifton area.

The direction came during a hearing of a petition of Schehrazade Asdar seeking a court direction for the SBCA and the KDA to take appropriate measures to safeguard the school property, which, she said, had been endangered due to lack of safety measures by the SBCA.

The petitioner submitted that the SBCA and the KDA had failed to perform their statutory duties to regulate the multi-storey building’s construction being carried out adjacent to the school property in violation of fundamental rights and the Sindh Building and Town Planning Regulations 2002.

The petitioner’s counsel said that the petitioner’s school building accommodates approximately 650 students and over 150 teaching and non-teaching staff, while the respondent Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry by undertaking the construction of a multi-storey building in a negligent manner and without adopting safety and sound engineering practices had risked the lives of the students and staff members of the school.

He submitted that Chapter 8 of the Karachi building and town regulations deals with temporary works in connection with building operations, particularly safety and security measures, which states that no excavation or dewatering or earth work or demolition of the building which is likely to affect the adjacent building shall be started without adequate steps to prevent the possible damage to any adjacent building.

He told the court that the respondents had failed to abide by the regulations while the construction of multi-story building was endangering the lives and property of the petitioner.

He said that construction work of the building had been abandoned without taking proper safety measures as per the building by-laws.

The court was requested to direct the respondents to take appropriate safety measures to safeguard the petitioner’s property and construct a wall outside the construction site to protect the school from erosion and any further damage.

The counsel also pointed out that the SHC on March 24 had directed the KDA and the SBCA to take concrete steps to safeguard the petitioner’s property as per the town building regulations and to submit a compliance report.

A high court division bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi observed that the SBCA and the KDA have failed to submit a report on compliance with the previous orders, and directed the respondents to submit a compliance report by February 17.

The court also directed senior officers of the SBCA and the KCCI, who were well conversant with the facts of the case, to appear before the court at the next date of the hearing.

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