Lahore: The Lahore High Court has decided that the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) did not have the authority to charge or recover conversion fees from roads or portions of roads that were deemed commercial or otherwise transformed for commercial use under its 2014 guidelines.

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The petitioners are either property owners or renters who have been requested by the LDA to pay a conversion fee in order to carry out commercial activity at their property under the 2014 guidelines. They either challenged the LDA’s demand notices for payment of the conversion fee or attacked public notices published in major newspapers in which a list of commercial areas was provided and the public was informed that they had seven days to have their properties permanently converted for commercial use after paying the conversion fee.

In some cases, the petitioners questioned the legality of certain provisions of the LDA Act, claiming that the authority lacked the authority to levy conversion fees because that power belongs to the local government, and in others, they questioned the LDA’s authority to demand a one-time conversion fee.

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The petitioners have been conducting business on their premises for a long time, paying commercialisation fees and obtaining the necessary permits. As a result, they claimed that collecting a one-time conversion charge under the LDA Act and the 2014 regulations for the purpose of conducting commercial activity on their properties was illegal.

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