Srinagar, July 8, KNT: In a significant order of wide public importance, a Division Bench of J&K High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar directed AAG Aseem Sawhney appearing for the J&K Govt (Estates Department) to file a status report within a period of four weeks in the petition highlighting illegal occupation of Ministerial Bunglows and A-Type Kothis by former Ministers and legislators in Jammu and Srinagar.
After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Muhammad Zulkarnain Chowdhary, Supriya Chouhan and Muzzaffar Ali Shah appearing in the PIL filed by social activist Prof. S.K. Bhalla, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal through Video Conferencing issued notices to the Secretary to the Government of J&K, Hospitality and Protocol; Estates Department and Civil Aviation; Director Estates, J&K and Deputy Director Estates, Jammu which were accepted by AAG Aseem Sawhney. The Division Bench also issued notice in the Miscellaneous Petition and further directed the AAG to apprise the court about the view taken by the J&K Govt in the instant matter.
When this PIL came up for hearing through Video Conferencing today before the Division Bench, Advocate Sheikh Shakil Ahmed vehemently argued that despite the fall of BJP-PDP Government in June 2018, the erstwhile Ministers and Legislators did not vacate the Ministerial Bungalows and A-Type Kothis both at Jammu as well as at Srinagar and their illegal occupation continues till date and the Estates Department miserably failed to get the official accommodations vacated.
Advocate Ahmed according to news agency KNT further submitted that the Ex-Ministers/Ex-MLAs lost their entitlement to remain in the Ministerial Bungalows and A-Type Kothis after they ceased to be public men but the Estates Department failed to discharge its duties solely for the reason that the illegal occupants belong to a party which is in power in the Centre.
After considering the submissions of Advocate S. S. Ahmed, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal issued directions to the Government to file a status report within four weeks and further directed in the Miscellaneous Petition to apprise the court about the view taken by the Government in the instant matter. The Division Bench further directed the Registry to re-notify the instant PIL on October 7, 2020. Amicus Curie Monika Kohli was also present at the time of hearing through Video Conferencing. (KNT)