A second historical ruling was achieved by ECESR in 43 lawsuits binding Giza governorate to establish alternative shops for the vendors of the removed commercial store units in Souq Elbohi due to the Metro Line-Phase Three
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A second historical ruling was achieved by ECESR in 43 lawsuits binding Giza governorate to establish alternative shops for the vendors of the removed commercial store units in Souq Elbohi due to the Metro Line-Phase Three

(ECESR) grabbed a new historical ruling in Souq Al-Bohi case, as on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, the 11th circuit for contracts in the Administrative Court ordered with the right of 43 vendors of the commercial store units located in the Market of vegetables and fruits at Elbohi street located in Imbaba neighborhood, Giza Governorate, to have alternative shops as a restitution for the removal of their store units.

Regarding the lawsuits filed by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) as a power of attorney on behalf of the plaintiffs, the Administrative Court decided to accept the lawsuit in form, and in merits, it decided to bind Giza Governorate to establish shops for usufructuary leases dated back to 14/10/2018, according to what was agreed upon the contract and protocol signed on 04/10/2018, with its consequences, including the most important action to continue disbursing 2000 Egyptian pounds to each plaintiff monthly, till the establishment of the new shops, and binding the administrative authority to pay the expenses.

The ECESR’s Lawyers had filed 43 lawsuits before the 11th Circuit for contracts in the Administrative Court as power attorneys on behalf of the plaintiffs, Elbohi vendors, calling for the halt to the implementation of the negative decision to refrain from implementing usufructuary leases related to the shops of the Mall, which were agreed to be established in a 500 square meters land at Sharq Al Matar street above the Western Mounira Tunnel, owned by the Egyptian National Railways, and to be established by the MOT Company for Investment and Projects, in an implementation of the Protocol signed through Giza Governorate, the Informal Settlement Development Fund (ISDF), MOT Company and the National Authority for Tunnels, with the consequences of that, most notably: Giza Governorate represented by the North Giza Municipality, allocates 43 shops for Al-Elbohi vendors (the plaintiffs who requested a restitution with alternative shops).

In addition, lawsuits demanded that the right to usufruct of the shops would be for a period of 25 years for 30 pounds per month. Moreover, the shops have to be inside the building under construction in the aforementioned site, and the area of each shop has to be 9 square meters, with a frontage of not less than 3 square meters and a length of 3 square meters, which allows the plaintiffs to practice their commercial activities without obstacles or marginalization for their products in a nonvisual view for their shops, according to the specifications and engineering designs attached to the protocol which confirmed these articles. Furthermore, Giza Governorate and North Giza Municipality continue to disburse 2000 Egyptian pounds monthly to the plaintiffs on their capacity as Elbohi vendors, throughout the construction period of the project, from the date of suspending the disbursement till the completion of the handover.

Moreover, lawsuits called for the halt of the implementation of the negative decision by refraining from implementing the historical judgment issued by the Administrative Court under Lawsuit No.69651 of 70, in the hearing dated back to 25/02/2017, and providing alternative and appropriate units, whether in the same place or in another alternative one where they would be capable of practicing their rights to work, living a decent life through being protected from unemployment, with the consequences of that, in particular the inadmissibility of the handover of the units established at Al Matar Shaqr street above the Western Mounira Tunnle in Imbaba, due to the unconformity to the specifications, in terms of space and the surrounding wall. In addition, the location is inappropriate for the nature of the commercial activity of the plaintiffs. Besides, these units don’t guarantee a decent life for them.

The affected plaintiffs called Giza Governorate and North Giza +Municipality for continuing disbursing 2000 pounds monthly, throughout the construction period, from the date of stopping the disbursement till the completion of the handover with alternative shops.

It is noteworthy that since the announcement of the plan regarding the establishment of the Metro Line -Phase Three in Imbaba neighborhood, which included establishing a Metro Station in the region of Souq Al Bouhi, under the name “Elbohi Metro Station”, Elbohi vendors faced several problems from the government of the former Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail, after the decision to remove the entire region of the Souq to complete the planned project.

The negotiations were attended by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) as a representative of Elbohi vendors, together with representatives of Giza Governorate, North Giza Municipality, Egyptian Co. for Metro Management and Operation, and a representative of the European Investment Bank as the main financier of the Metro Line-Phase Three Project. During negotiations, the Administrative authority offered to compensate Elbohi vendors with 12500 pounds in exchange for each unit being removed, but in return, the vendors rejected that offer, demanding the establishment of an alternative Souq (Market) in another location in the neighborhood and handing them alternative units to be able to preserve their work as it is considered the only source for their living. However, their request was rejected by the Administration Authority which sent warnings to the vendors, informing them that their usufruct is ended, and obliging them to hand over the units or they will acquire them by force.

In order to face that, the beneficiaries of the units resorted to the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) to file a lawsuit to preserve their rights. The Center’s lawyers filed a memorandum of appeal in Case No.69651 of 70, and they demanded, in an urgent manner, for a ruling to halt the implementation of Giza Governorate’s negative decision by refraining from allocating alternative and suitable place for the appellants, as restitution for removing their units located in Souq Al Bouhi which are licensed to their usufruct.

And in merits, the Center demanded the annulment of the Administrative Authority decision with its consequences and binding the appellee to pay the expenses and the attorneys’ fees to guarantee their right to work and a decent life.

Moreover, the Center’s Lawyers confirmed that the Metro Line -Phase Three Project is funded mainly by the European Investment Bank which stipulates several guarantees in projects, and the most important guarantee is to compensate the affected persons with appropriate amounts of money, taking into account their living conditions.

Then, the Court made a historical judgment in an urgent manner to halt the implementation the negative decision of the Administrative Authority by refraining from handing over alternative units for the beneficiaries in exchange for removing their units. With the consequences of that, the Court obligated the appellee to pay the expenses of this case and ordered to refer the merits to the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority to prepare a report of the legal opinion.

Regarding the grounds of the judgment, the Court affirmed that the plaintiffs shouldn’t be deprived of their rights, interests and their source of livelihood, and thus the defendants have to be committed to provide alternative and appropriate shops for them, whether in the same place or in another alternative place that enables them to practice their rights to work, a decent life, be protected from unemployment, and live a decent life that protects them from fear, hunger, and need, as this compensation is the best way to reparations. Thus, the negative decision of the defendant not to provide alternative shops, according to the papers, lacks legitimacy and violates the plaintiffs’ right, without considering the difficult economic and social conditions in the society in which its majority lacks lifesaving means, while more than a half of the society lives below poverty. All these pieces of evidence are pursuant to the cornerstone of seriousness in requesting to halt the implementation.

Regarding the framework of the implementation of the aforementioned judgment, on 14/10/2018, North Giza Municipality concluded a usufruct lease of commercial stores for the affected vendors of the storage units in Souq Al Bouhi, in an implementation of the protocol signed among the Giza Governorate, Informal Settlement Development Fund, the MOT Company for Investment and Projects, and the National Authority for Tunnels. An agreement was reached to settle the affected vendors in a building constructed on land owned by the Egyptian National Railway, in exchange for a usufruct of 30 pounds per month for a period of 25 years, and that Giza Governorate represented by the North Giza Municipality allocates 44 commercial store units for the interest of the owners of the commercial store units.

However, the Administrative Authority defaulted on the agreement, and the aforementioned building was replaced by the establishment of a Market on the same site and commercial storage units with spaces that don’t allow practicing any commercial activity. These incidents promoted the Center’s lawyers, in their capacity as the defendants’ attorneys to file 43 lawsuits. Then our efforts were crowned with success when the Administrative Court ended with a historical judgment that ends years of dispute.

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) praises the historical judgment issued in favor of Elbohi vendors (the plaintiffs), as ascertained by the knowledge residing in the conscience of the Court through the submitted documents and the argument of the defense regarding the plaintiffs’ rights to receive alternative shops instead of their removed Commercial units, in order to protect their right to work and live a decent life.

 

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