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Graveyard Law in Pakistan

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    “What’s the law pertaining to establishment and maintenance of grave yard in Pakistan? What legal remedy does one have if their private land is converted into a grave yard? ” Punjab graveyards (preservation and maintenance) Act, 1958 will be applied on all matters pertaining to establishment and maintenance of graveyards in Punjab while the West Pakistan Graveyard (Preservation and Maintenance) Act, 1958 is applicable on the rest of Pakistan.

    As per the two acts, a committee will be constituted that will decide area of graveyard and encroachments and the rights possessed by encroachers, chalk up a scheme for graveyard and ensure maintenance and preservation of graveyard. The Government will be responsible for providing necessary funds to the committee, deciding exclusions from the area of graveyard and deciding penalties to be imposed on those found liable of non-compliance with the Graveyard act. A committee shall be appointed by Government for one or more graveyards consisting of a chairman and such number of official and non-official members as the government may specify.

    The committee will be a corporate body with the powers to acquire and hold property, to contract, to sue and be sued and to carry out any activities needed for fulfilling purposes of the Graveyard Ordinance. Committee will be paid annual contributions for the maintenance of graveyard. Government will have the power to dissolve the committee and transfer its assets and liabilities and entrust its functions to a local authority at any time. The area of the graveyard will be specified by the committee in accordance with settlement records.

    The committee is also required to investigate and report nature and extent of encroachments made and any compensation that may be made in case of removal of encroachments. A preliminary notification will be issued in his regard and final limits of the graveyard will not be established until all claims for exclusion of land from the area of graveyard have been resolved. Any individual with a claim on land included within the graveyard area specified in the initial notification can apply to Government for its exclusion within three months of issuance of preliminary notification.

    A tribunal will be appointed by the Government for resolution of such claims and if the tribunal finds the claims just, the land will be excluded from graveyard. However, Government retains the right to seize the land with a year of such order if it considers the area a requirement for the purpose of graveyard. If the tribunal finds the claims unjust, the application will be rejected and applicant required to hand over the possession of land and in case of buildings, remove them from the property within nine months.

    In case of non-compliance with the order, occupants will be forcibly removed and expenses incurred in the process recovered from them. The applicant will, however, have the right to file an appeal with the High Court within a month of the order and High Court’s judgment on the matter will be considered final. Committee will be provided funds by the Government to compensate the harmed parties. All land and properties comprising the area of graveyard will be held by the committee in a trust for use as a graveyard and other purposes deemed necessary for the proper maintenance of the graveyard.

    With regard to proceedings under the Graveyard Act, the Committee and the Tribunal constituted shall have the same powers which are vested in a Court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The committee established will be responsible for protecting the graveyard from encroachments, maintaining the graveyard in a proper condition, employing and paying necessary staff and doing any acts that may be necessary for the preservation and proper maintenance of the graveyard.

    The committee will also be responsible for drawing up a scheme that outlines the specification of areas to be used as burial grounds, layout of streets and open spaces, the regulation of the design and structure of graves, uses of land not immediately required for the purpose of burial and any other matter which may be necessary for the preservation and proper maintenance of the graveyard. Government may reject the scheme made by committee, return it for further consideration or impose it with any additions or deletions as it may consider appropriate.

    Any person who makes an encroachment or erects a building in an unauthorized manner in any part of the area of the graveyard, uses any land or property within the limits of the graveyard in an unsanctioned manner, damages any land or property included in the area of the graveyard or commits a breach of any of the provisions of the Graveyard Act shall on conviction by a Magistrate, be punished with imprisonment of up to three months, or with fine of up to a thousand rupees, or with both.

    Works Cited

    1. “West Pakistan Graveyard (Preservation and Maintenance) Act 1958. ”
    2. N. p. , n. d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013. “THE [PUNJAB] GRAVEYARDS (PRESERVATION AND MAINTENANCE) ACT, 1958. ” N. p. , n. d. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.

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