Two politicians vacate Govt bunglows; 6 in process of vacation: AG

Eviction of Ex-Ministers/Ex-Legislatures from Govt Accommodation


JAMMU: In a significant development in the much publicized Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking eviction of overstaying Ex-Ministers/Ex-Legislators from Govt. Accommodation, Advocate General D.C. Raina assisted by AAG Amit Gupta and Govt. Advocate Sajad Ashraf submitted before the Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi that Government of J&K has already taken action in terms of the directions passed by the Division Bench on April 3, 2024 and pursuant thereto two premises have already been vacated by Wazira Begum (Political Person) and Sonaullah Lone (Political Person) whereas six more are in the process of being vacated.
Advocate General D.C. Raina further submitted that in respect of other premises, the matter is under consideration before the Committee and AG sought two months time to do the needful in the matter.
On the other hand, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocate Rahul Raina submitted that there is no proper compliance of the directions passed by the Division Bench on April 3, 2024 as the Division Bench had issued categoric directions to Director Estates, Jammu and Director Estates, Kashmir to pass individual orders in respect of all 43 occupants and also to explain why these occupants were not charged rental at commercial rates since they are not holding any office as of now.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed vociferously argued that there cannot be two laws in a similar situation as Govt. of J&K evicted more than 200 politicians including two former Chief Ministers namely Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti and several Ex-Ministers but undue favour is being extended to remaining 41 politicians who are having access in the corridors of power.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that it is unfortunate that the exercise undertaken by the Estates Department pursuant to Order dated April 3, 2024 has been kept in two sealed covers contrary to the observations expressed by the Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud who deprecated the filing of documents in sealed covers.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that referring of the cases of 35 overstaying politicians to the Committee of J&K Govt. is a ploy to shield the illegal continuation of influential politicians who are close to the seat of power and the so-called security concerns have already been taken care of by the Division Bench in its Order dated December 26, 2022 passed in CM Nos. 7467/2022 and 7468/2022 arising out of the instant PIL where the Division Bench comprising then Chief Justice (Acting) Tashi Rabstan and Justice Rajesh Sekhri held that security and accommodation are two different factors and this was held while dismissing the application filed by Ex-MP/Ex-Minister Ch. Lal Singh.
He further submitted that undue favour is being extended to the convenient politicians by throwing Law of the land to the winds.
Advocate Ahmed further submitted that he is entitled to see the entire records and all the 43 individual orders passed by the Estates Department so that he can assist the Division Bench for passing the appropriate directions in this matter of wide public importance.
At this stage, the Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh in the open Court remarked that the entire records will be perused in order to see the compliance of Court directions dated April 3, 2024.
The Division Bench after considering the heated arguments from both the sides, directed the Registry to renotify the instant PIL on August 7, 2024. The Division Bench further directed the Counsel for Estates Department to report instructions in CM No. 4083/2023 moved by former Finance Minister Abdul Raheem Rather who is seeking clarification that he has already vacated the Govt. Accommodation and his name should be removed from the list of Occupants.

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