PESHAWAR: A divisional bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Saturday restrained the settlement officer of Chitral from handing over land settlement record to the deputy commissioners of Upper and Lower Chitral, the Malakand Commissioner, or otherwise notifying the same.
Inhabitants of Chitral had filed a writ petition in the PHC in 2019 challenging certain residuary provisions of a 1975 notification whereby all mountains, wastelands and riverbeds etc., had been declared government property.
In April 2021, the chief justice of the PHC, finding the writ petition to be of significant importance, had transferred the case from Darul Qaza Swat to its principal seat at Peshawar for adjudication.
It was argued before a bench, consisting of Justice Roohul Amin and Justice Nasir Mehfooz, by Barrister Asadul Mulk that the 1975 notification was contrary to Article 172 (1) of the Constitution.
He contended that the 1975 notification was issued pursuant to the Distribution of Property Chitral Regulation 1974. However, following the 25th Amendment to the Constitution all regulations issued pursuant to Article 246 and 247 of the Constitution lapsed.
Therefore, the very enforcement of the 1975 notification which was dependent on a lapsed regulation was marred by legal infirmity.
The High Court finding the arguments plausible and requiring determination issued a restraining order percluding the closing of the land settelment process in Chitral.