ACT, 1993

An Act to protect the owners of immovable
property from acts of illegal possession or forcible dispossession by the Qabza Group.

This bill seeks to provide a speedy forum for eradicating the illegal activities of Qabza Group so as to protect the individual property.

Whereas it is expedient to protect the owners of immovable property from illegal possession, or forcible dispossession by a person or group of persons commonly known as Qabza Group.

It is hereby enacted as follows:-

1. Short title, extent and commencement.- (1) This Act may be called the “Eradication of Qabza Group (Activities), Act, 1993.

(2) It extends to the whole of Pakistan; and

(3) It shall come into force at once.

2. Definition.- In this Act unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context.-

(a) “Court” means the Court of Sessions having jurisdiction.

(b) “Code” means the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1989 (Act V of 1898);

(c) “illegal possession” means possession without lawful authority;

(d) “property” means immovable property;

(e) “qabza group” means a person or group of persons committing an act of illegal possession of or illegal dispossession from property by means of fraud, intimidation, duress, assault or in any manner otherwise than in due course of law.

(2) The words not defined under this Act shall bear the meaning as assigned to them in the Pakistan Penal Code.

3. Offence.- Whoever as a qabza group is involved in an act of illegal possession of or illegal dispossession from, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and fine upto the market value of the suit property.

4. Jurisdiction.- Notwithstanding anything contained in any law, for the time being in force, an offence mentioned in this Act shall be exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions having jurisdiction and the trial shall proceed to a conclusion notwithstanding the pendency of a civil suit on the same subject.

5. Taking of cognizance.- (1) The Officer-in-Charge of a police station shall complete the investigation and forward directly to the Court a report under section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure within fourteen days in respect of the case triable by the Court. Provided that the Court may extend the time within which such report is to be forwarded in a case where good reasons are shown for not doing so within the time specified in this sub-section.

(2) Any default on the part of an Officer-in-Charge of a police station, an Investigation Officer or any other person required by law to perform any functions in connection with the investigation, which results in, or has the effect of delaying the investigation or the submission of the report under sub-section (1), shall be deemed to be a wilful disobedience of the order of the Court and dealt with under the law accordingly.

(3) The Court may directly take cognizance of a case without the case being sent to it under section 190 of the Code.

6. Procedure of Court.- (1) On taking cognizance of a case, the Court shall proceed with the trial from day to day and shall decide the case within thirty days and for any delay, sufficient reasons shall be recorded.

(2) The Court shall not adjourn any trial for any purpose unless such adjournment is, in its opinion, necessary in the interest of justice and no adjournment shall in any case be granted for more than two working days.

(3) The Court shall proceed to enquire into the matter and for that purpose notwithstanding any procedure laid down in any law for the time being in force, may adopt any appropriate procedure as it deems fit for the ends of justice.

7. Burden of Proof.- Where any person is accused of having committed an offence under section 3 of this Act and is in possession of or has under his control such property shall be deemed to have committed the offence unless proved otherwise.

8. Eviction of trespasser and mode of recovery as an interim relief.- (1) If a person is found prima facie to be not in lawful possession, the Court shall, as an interim relief direct the offender to put the owner in possession.

(2) Where the person against whom any such order is passed fails to comply with the same, the Court shall, notwithstanding any other law for the time being in force, commit him to prison until such time the order is carried out.

(3) The Court may depute any person to take possession for securing compliance with its orders under sub-section (1).

(4) If any person, authorised by the Court, requires police assistance, in the exercise of his power under this Act, he may send a requisition to the Officer-in-Charge of a police station who shall on such requisition render such assistance as required.

9. Power to attach property.- (1) If the Court is satisfied that none of the persons are in possession immediately before the commission of the offence, the Court may attach the property until final determination of the rights of the parties.

(2) In case of attachment, the methods of its safeguard against natural decay or deterioration shall be determined by the Court.

10. Powers of the Court.- For the purpose of conducting inquiry under this Act the Court shall have all powers necessary for issuing summons, warrants in order to compel attendance of witnesses, production of documents, examination of witnesses, issuing commission for inspection of sites and such other matters as the Court deems fit.

11. Bail.- (1) An accused person shall not be released on bail, if there appears reasonable grounds for believing that he has been guilty of the offence, nor shall the accused be so released unless a notice has been given to the prosecution.

(2) Where an accused person is released on bail, the amount of bail shall be fixed having regard to the gravity of the charge against such person and shall not be less than twice the market value of the property involved.