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HC seeks details of politicians occupying govt accommodation in J&K

Major reshuffle in judiciary: 60 sessions, 66 sub judges, 22 Munsiffs transferred in J&K

Jammu:   In a  significant order, a Division Bench of High court of  Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh ( Jammu Wing) comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Mohd  Akram Chowdhary  directed  AAG  Aseem Sawhney  appearing for Govt of J&K to provide the details of Politicians / Ex-Legislators who are ordinarily the residents of Jammu Province and particular  areas  in and around Jammu District  and own and possess accommodation in their names,  have also been furnished govt. accommodation on so called security considerations , not only in Jammu but even in Srinagar.

When this much publicized  PIL No. 17/2020 highlighting illegal occupation of  Ministerial Bungalows/  A Type Kothies / flats/ quarters situated at Jammu / Srinagar came  up for hearing, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed  with Advocates Supriya Chouhan,  Mohd Zulkarnain  Choudhary and Majid  Shah  appearing for the petitioner submitted that since June, 2018 the Ex- Ministers/ Ex-Legislators/ Political workers are illegally staying in the Govt. accommodation both at Jammu and Srinagar and the Estates Department has miserably failed to evict these VVIPs illegal occupants owing to political pressure.

Advocate  SS Ahmed vehemently argued that Jammu city is a peace Zone and even  Ex- Ministers / Ex- Legislators belonging to Jammu province as well as areas in and around Jammu District who are having their own residential houses  are even continuing in the Ministerial Bungalows /  A Type Kothies and there seems  to be no logic in allowing such Ex-ministers / Ex- legislators to remain in occupation of Govt. accommodation.

Advocate S.S Ahmed in the  Open Court even named such Ex- ministers/ Ex-legislators  who belong to Jammu and  are having  their houses  in various localities of Jammu and   further submitted that even such politicians have also been provided Govt accommodation at Srinagar also.  The Division Bench headed by Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur while taking serious note of the submissions made by Advocate SS. Ahmed observed and directed  that details of all such persons be furnished  to the Court before the next date of hearing.

Advocate SS. Ahmed further submitted that any ministers / bureaucrat after demitting  office is at par with the common citizen. Though by virtue of the office held , he may be entitled to security and other protocols ,  allotment of Govt Bungalow for life time and its continuation is not guided by the constitutional principles of equality. At this stage Advocate S.S Ahmed  referred a supreme Court Judgment titled Lok Parhari through its General Secretary Versus the State of UP and others,  wherein,  the Supreme Court held that the Govt. Bungalows/ Official residences are public property and struck down section -4 (3) of the Uttar Pradesh ministers ( salaries , allowances  and miscellaneous provisions ) act , 1981 which had made a provision that  a Govt residence shall be allotted to the  former Chief  Minister of  Uttar Pradesh  on his / her request for life time on payment of such rent as may be determined from time to time by the Estates Department of the state .

While advancing his arguments on the strength of  the Supreme Court Judgment,  Advocate S.S Ahmed strenuously argued that the instant PIL be allowed and the illegal occupants who are politicians be evicted from the  Ministerial Bungalows / A Type Kothies / Flats / Govt. quarters situated at Jammu / Srinagar.

AAG Aseem Sawhney  appearing for Govt of J&K submitted that  around 72 persons other then Govt Officers are occupying Govt accommodation and he further stated that UT Govt. is duty bound to protect those persons who are protected persons and in view of threat perception reports such persons can not be exposed to the anti national elements.  He further submitted that looking into the seriousness of the matter the UT Govt.  be allowed to file the status report in a sealed cover as the information  disclosed can prove detrimental to the life and security of the protected persons.  He further submitted that he will come out with the details regarding the persons  who have been allowed Govt accommodation both at Jammu/ Srinagar or any other area of UT of J&K.  AAG Aseem  Sawhney  also read in the Open Court the status report filed by him based  upon  the inputs of security review committee.  He further submitted that owing to  security consideration the politicians are staying  in safe/ secure Govt accommodations.

After considering  the submission of the both sides, the Division Bench headed by Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur directed the  AAG Aseem Sawhney to  provide the details of Politicians / Ex-Legislators who are ordinarily the residents of Jammu province and particular areas  in and around Jammu District  and own and possess accommodation in  their own names,  have also been furnished Govt accommodation on so called Security considerations , not only in Jammu but even in Srinagar . JNF


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