SC suspends IHC short order regarding the sealing of Monal Restaurant
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday suspended the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) short order regarding the sealing of Monal Restaurant and ordered it to de-seal it.
On January 11, the IHC ordered the closure of Monal Restaurant whilst declaring allotment of 80,68 acres of land to the Pakistan Army in the National Park area of Islamabad against the law.
The court had said that the lease agreement of Monal Restaurant with the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had expired and its agreement, dated Sept 30, 2019, with the Remount, Veterinary and Farms Directorate was void and without any legal effect.
On February 24, counsel representing the restaurant Makhdoom Ali Khan stated that the IHC’s short order was also without a signature.
The counsel further argued that “the wildlife board was not a party to the case. How can it take possession without a written order being issued?”
An appeal against the closure of the restaurant was heard on Tuesday in the apex court, wherein the lawyer of Monal Restaurant argued that neither a certified copy of the short order of the IHC nor a detailed decision was available and that the intra-court appeal was fixed twice but the case was dismissed before the hearing.
To this, bench member Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked how the restaurant was sealed before the written court order was issued.
“If the wildlife board was not a party then why was it sealed so quickly?” the judge asked. “How many restaurants have been sealed on Margalla Hills to date? In principle, there is no order of the Islamabad High Court,” he added.
The board counsel prayed that the authority had issued notices to Gloria Jean’s and La Montana Restaurant.
The top court also reprimanded Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) Chairperson Rina Saeed Khan and removed her from the rostrum for causing repeated interference during the proceedings.
“Don’t you understand that a verbal decree has no constitutional or legal status?” the judge asked the chairperson.
“When rest of the restaurants were given [written] notices then why not Monal? It seems that this restaurant has been targeted separately. If the restaurants want they can challenge the notices on the relevant forums, which would have not been a problem in the Monal Restaurant case as well, if the law had been followed in the same way,” he added
The CDA’s lawyer also informed the court that the restaurant’s lease had expired six months ago. To which Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that the dispute between CDA and Monal Restaurant will be decided by the concerned civil court. Subsequently, the SC adjourned the hearing indefinitely.