DB directs Sr. AAG to file latest status of unauthorized occupants



In a Significant order, the Division Bench of High Court of J&K & Ladakh (Jammu) comprising Chief Justice (Acting) Tashi Rabstan and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi granted two weeks time to Sr. AAG Monika Kohli appearing for the Government of J&K/Estates Department for filing the latest status regarding the unauthorized occupants of Government accommodations who were issued eviction notices in the year 2018 and despite lapse of more than four years, the eviction has not been effected.

         These court directions were passed in the much publicised Public Interest Litigation (PIL No. 17/2020) highlighting unauthorised occupation of ministerial bungalows by the Ex-ministers/MLAs at Jammu/Srinagar. The PIL seeks directions to the Estates department to ensure the eviction of the illegal occupants.

     When this PIL came up for hearing, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Supriya Chouhan and Mohd. Zulkarnain Choudhary appearing for the petitioner drew the attention of the Division Bench towards a latest RTI information received from Estates department wherein it was divulged that on December 21, 2018, the Deputy Director Estates, Jammu issued eviction notices to former Deputy CM Kavinder Gupta, Bali Bhagat (Former Health Minister), Sunil Kumar (Former Minister) and others whereby all of them were directed to surrender their ministerial bungalows by or before December 21, 2018 and in default, the Estates Department would initiate eviction proceedings under rules including charging of penal rent as described under SOP notified vide Government order No.99-Est of 2018 dated 15.10.2018. 

        Advocate S S Ahmed further submitted that till date, the unauthorised occupants have not vacated the ministerial bungalows nor the Estates Department initiated eviction proceedings against the unauthorised occupants.

       Advocate Ahmed further highlighted that Estates Department has been selective in carrying out evictions of the politicians as 107 political persons were evicted from Government accommodations at Jammu. He further submitted that the Ex-Ministers/Ex-Legislators belonging to a particular political party having access to the corridors of power, have not been picked up for eviction drive.

       After considering the submissions of Advocate S S Ahmed, the Division Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Tashi Rabstan observed that the respondents/Estates Department have issued eviction notices in the year 2018 against some of the unauthorised occupants of Government accommodations, however, despite lapse of more than four years, the eviction has not been effected. The Division Bench accordingly directed Sr. AAG Monika Kohli to file latest status on the aforesaid issue within a period of two weeks.

         Looking into the importance of the matter, the Division Bench directed the Registry to re-notify the instant PIL on February 27, 2023.

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