J&K Special Tribunal fixed April 6th, 2023 for Final Arguments
A Bench of J&K Special Tribunal, Jammu headed by Member (Judicial) Rajiv Gupta has listed the much publicized appeal preferred by Mamta Singh W/o Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh, former Deputy Chief Minister of J&K against the JDA’s Demolition Notice regarding the alleged illegal construction of a Palatial House at village Ban (Nagrota), District Jammu for Final Arguments on April 6th, 2023. While fixing the matter for Final Arguments, the Presiding Officer of the J&K Special Tribunal, Jammu observed that on January 24th, 2023 the appellant Mamta Singh moved an application wherein she contended that her case is covered under Unified Building Bye Laws, 2021 and her case be considered in the light of the said Bye Laws.
The Jammu Development Authority (JDA) filed their response saying that the Unified Building Bye Laws, 2021 have prospective effect and the case of the appellant Mamta Singh cannot be considered under new Bye Laws.
When this matter came up for hearing on March 15th, 2023, Advocate Jugal Kishore Gupta with Advocate Rahul Sadotra appearing for the appellant Mamta Singh sought more time to respond to the objections filed by the JDA. However, the Law Officer JDA present on behalf of Advocate Adarsh Sharma submitted that this is purely a legal question and no further time should be allowed to the appellant to controvert the objections filed by the JDA.
The Member(Judicial) of the J&K Special Tribunal, Rajiv Gupta after considering the rival contentions observed, “in my considered opinion, the question as to the retrospective or prospective operation of the Unified Building Bye Laws, 2021 can be considered while hearing final arguments on merits of the appeal. No finding on that issue is necessary to be returned at this stage. Thus, there is no need for the appellant to make any clarificatory response to the objections.”
It may be recalled that even on previous dates of hearing, the final arguments could not be heard as the matter was adjourned at the request of the appellant Mamta Singh’s counsel on the ground that the Arguing Counsel in the matter i.e. Senior Advocate R.K. Gupta was not available for advancing the arguments on behalf of the appellant. It is apt to mention herein that even before that the matter was adjourned on various hearings due to the non-availability of the Bench-II at J&K Special Tribunal, Jammu as the then Presiding Judicial Member of the Bench had been elevated as the Additional Judge of the High Court of J&K and Ladakh.
It may also be recalled that Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh and his wife Mamta Singh were issued a Notice under section 7(3) of the Control of Building Operations Act, 1988 for raising construction of a Palatial House at village Ban, Nagrota without seeking prior permission from Jammu Development Authority. The JDA initially did not act against the high profile former Deputy Chief Minister and later on an RTI application filed by the whistle-blower Advocate Muzzaffar Ali Shah, the Jammu Development Authority disclosed that despite being informed about the alleged illegal construction from the Khilafwarzi Wing, JDA did not proceed against the high profile violators. Subsequently, on the complaint of whistle-blower Advocate Muzzaffar Ali Shah, the JDA issued a demolition notice to the former Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh and his wife Mamta Singh whereby JDA has directed them to remove the illegal construction on their own within five days failing which the JDA’s Khilafwarzi Wing would remove the violations.
Against the said demolition notice, Mamta Singh had filed an appeal before the J&K Special Tribunal, Jammu and the Special Tribunal while taking cognizance of the appeal stayed the operation of the demolition notice. The stay has been extended from time to time and in the meantime, the JDA filed its response stating that it’s a case of ‘Major Violation’ and appeal merits to be dismissed.
Now a Bench of the J&K Special Tribunal, Jammu headed by Member (Judicial) Rajiv Gupta has listed the much publicized appeal preferred by Mamta Singh W/o Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh, former Deputy Chief Minister of J&K against the JDA’s Demolition Notice regarding the alleged illegal construction of a Palatial House at village Ban (Nagrota), District Jammu for Final Arguments on April 6th, 2023.