The Supreme Court's recent ruling has ordered the commissioner of Rawalpindi to reevaluate and determine fair compensation for the land acquired for the construction of the Dam.
While the preliminary notification from November 2, 2010, and the addendum notification dated March 12, 2020, have been deemed valid and will remain in effect, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, in his judgment, emphasized the need for reassessing compensation considering various factors, including the market value of the land, potential land value, and price escalation from the addendum notification to the award announcement.
The dispute arose when the executive engineer of the Small Dams Division, Islamabad, requested the acquisition of land in Rawalpindi district for the dam's construction. A preliminary notification was issued under the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, followed by approval from the District Price Assessment Committee (DPAC) regarding the land's estimated cost.
However, the process remained stagnant until the addendum notification in March 2020, which expanded the land acquisition. DPAC reaffirmed the land's valuation, and an notification was issued to expedite acquisition proceedings.
The respondents challenged these proceedings, leading to the Lahore High Court's judgment setting aside the notifications. The petitioners were allowed to initiate fresh acquisition proceedings under Section 4 of the Act.
During the hearing, it was revealed that the Housing Authority (DHA) had requested the Punjab government to relocate the dam's site upstream, but subsequent committees recommended the original site.
The Supreme Court ultimately upheld the validity of the preliminary, addendum, and urgency notifications but found that the award was not in accordance with the law. This ruling seeks to address the compensation issue, emphasizing the importance of fair and lawful processes in land acquisition for critical infrastructure projects like the Dam.
The Supreme Court has ordered a fresh assessment of compensation for acquired land while upholding the validity of notifications in the Dam construction case, emphasizing the need for a fair and lawful process.