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Lahore High Court Bars Constructions in Public Parks, Citing Violation of Fundamental Rights

Lahore High Court Bars Constructions in Public Parks

The Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench has prohibited constructions within public parks, emphasizing the fundamental right to entertainment and recreational activities. The judgment, delivered by Justice Jawad Hassan, addresses concerns raised against illegal constructions within a children’s park in Rawalpindi.

Legal Rationale

Lahore High Court Bars Constructions in Public Parks

Citing Article 26 of the Constitution, which guarantees non-discriminatory access to places of public entertainment or resort, the court underscored the importance of safeguarding citizens’ recreational rights. Justice Hassan defined ‘entertainment’ as encompassing amusement, recreation, and pastime, emphasizing the need for facilities that refresh and please the mind.

Violation of Fundamental Rights

The court highlighted the violation of various fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, including the right to life, dignity, freedom of movement, access to food and water, and the practice of religion. It stressed the government’s obligation to provide essential facilities to citizens, ensuring their well-being and quality of life.

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The case, pending since 2015, gained momentum when the LHC reaffirmed the petitioners’ right to access public entertainment spaces in January 2022. Subsequent hearings led to the submission of reports and assurances from the Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency regarding the restoration of the park to its original condition.

Government’s Response

The government clarified its intent to improve necessary facilities within the park, aiming to fulfill its development plans while respecting citizens’ rights. Administrative approvals were obtained, and meetings were held to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

Conclusion

The LHC’s ruling sets a precedent for preserving public spaces and upholding citizens’ rights to recreation and leisure. By addressing encroachments in public parks, the judiciary reaffirms the constitutional principles of equality, dignity, and access to essential amenities for all citizens .