HC Directs J&K Admin To Hear Overstaying Occupants Of Govt Accommodations Before Taking Action



JAMMU, Apr 5: The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court, on Thursday, directed the administration to hear the former legislators who are overstaying at government accommodations before taking any action.

A bench of Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice M. A. Chowdhary issued the direction while hearing a petition seeking eviction of former ministers and legislators overstaying in government accommodations in Jammu and Srinagar.

It directed the directors of estates in Jammu and Srinagar to deal with each of the 43 occupants and pass specific individual orders, either for cancellation of accommodation and eviction or for allotment, thereof, by giving specific reasons for doing so.

“We make it clear that if the accommodation of any individual mentioned in this report is continued, specific reasons supported by necessary materials must be provided before this court so that this court will examine whether the authorities have taken an appropriate and fair decision regarding the government accommodation being presently provided to these 43 persons,” the bench said.

After hearing advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed and others, appearing for the petitioner, and Senior Additional Advocate General S. S. Nanda, representing the Jammu and Kashmir government, the bench also directed that the directors of estates in Jammu and Srinagar will hear these 43 people individually before passing any order.

It directed the officials to inform the court of the rentals these 43 people have been paying as they have ceased to hold offices and why they have not been charged rental at commercial rates since they are not holding any office as of now.

The court said while passing separate orders for the occupants, authorities will keep in mind the provisions of the J&K Estates Department (Allotment of Government Accommodation) Regulations, 2004, and various orders passed by the court.

When the petition came up for hearing, Advocate Ahmed drew the attention of the bench towards the latest status report — dated February 23 — and apprised it, saying that almost all the overstaying ex-legislators have their own houses in Jammu and Srinagar but the estates department is not evicting them because of their political clout.

The advocate highlighted the cases of former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, former deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta, former minister Sajjad Lone, and argued dual standards have been adopted by the estates department on political considerations, and the law of the land has been disregarded, as evictions were earlier carried out selectively.

After conclusion of arguments from both sides, the bench directed the department to complete the court’s orders within a period of one month. It will also furnish details by way of filing an affidavit on or before May 8, it said.


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